LATIN NAMESambucus nigra
About the Elder
Native to most of Europe, the Elder is considered to be the ‘Protective Tree’ of the woods and was used to make wands and musical instruments that would drive evil away. Easily recognisable in mid summer by the mass of flat-topped, white flowers that flourish alongside its bright, green leaves, the tree’s berries are a striking purple/black colour.
Clay scooped up from under an Elder bush would soothe an aching tooth according to Irish rural traditions. Both the tree’s flowers and fruit are used to make drinks – the flowers a refreshing cold drink in summer months, while the fruit is used to produce wine. Elderberries are also used for jam and are rich in Vitamin C.
Often found in hedgerows in Ireland, the plant grows quickly and if often found on nitrogen-rich waste ground. Found throughout the Park, the tree is also considered to be a good wildlife species in that it provides food and shelter for a selection of species.
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