The Elder Sambucus nigra is a shrub or small tree found in hedgerows and woods throughout Britain. It is also native to Europe, North Africa and south-west Asia. The fruit is used to make wine and has many medicinal uses, but the seeds and other plant parts are toxic. It is easily recognised in spring when it bears flat plates of white flowers and in autumn from its black berries. In winter it has distinctive branches with big purple buds.
An Elder Shrub in mid June
The flowers are in flat-topped clusters called compound cymes by botanists. Photo taken at the end of June.
There are 5 to 7 tooth-edged leaflets on each leaf. This is a pinnate leaf.
Fruit in late September. The complexity of the branching system can be seen here.