ELDER (Sambucus Nigra)

Growing Conditions: Elder is a small shrub common all over the British Isles and Europe. It grows in woods, hedgerows, downlands and waste places. The flowers are very sweetly fragrant and appear in early summer. Each flower has five white petals and five pale yellow anthers.

The flowers turn to berries which are green at first, then ripen to a shining purplish-black in early autumn, they hang in heavy clusters and are very popular with birds.

Fun fact: Because of the legend that the Cross was made from elder wood and that Judas Iscariot was hanged from an elder tree, people were afraid to cut elders from hedges, and gipsies avoided burning the wood in their fires.

In addition to being a great food source, it has medicinal properties being scientifically proved to be effective in cases of bronchitis and respiratory troubles. Its leaves can be used as an insecticide and its bark, root, leaves and berries can make natural dye.
Source: Edible wild plants and herbs, a compendium of recipes and remedies. Pamela Michael. Grub Street, London. 2015.

 

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