Site address
(not postal)

Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT
leaves and flowers

ELDER (Sambucus nigra)

The elder only grows to about 9m, but its stems are sometimes nearly two feet in diameter. The bark of the old wood is light brownish grey and is rough and corky. Young shoots have a grass-green surface. The leaves, which are in opposite pairs, consist of two, three, or four pairs of broadly egg-shaped, serrated leaflets, with a single leaflet at the end.

The flowers are small and creamy-white and appear at the end of May or the beginning of June. The fruit is borne in autumn and is usually black but may be green or white when ripe.

Elderberries may be used to make jam, wine or cordial.

The elder is deeply steeped in folklore. It is said to ward off evil spirits and is a sacred tree of Wicca.

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