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.


Elder in flower

An Elder Shrub in mid June

Elder flower cluster

The flowers are in flat-topped clusters called compound  cymes by botanists.  Photo taken at the end of June.

Elder pinnate leaf

There are 5 to 7 tooth-edged leaflets on each leaf. This is a pinnate leaf.

Elder fruit

Fruit in late September. The complexity of the branching system can be seen here.