Elder, Sambucus nigra

tree of the family Caprifoliaceae (Glossy abelia, Kolkwitzia, Viburnum, Weigela).

Etymology: "Elder" comes from Latin "Sambucus", name of a harp.
Origin: Europe.
Habitat: the Elder develops in hardwood forests, but also on debris where birds deposit the Elder seeds. It makes the best of any type of even calcareous well-drained soil and appreciates a sunny site.
Hardiness: the Elder is very resistant to cold. It supports cold until -29 ° (zone 5).
Height: shrub (trunks ramified at the base) or small tree from 3 to 7 m tall.
Bark has an unpleasant smell.
Stems: they have the particularity of being hollow.
Opposite leaves, imparipinnate with 5 oval, toothed leaflets, petiolate 5-10 cm long.
Small flowers grouped in umbels 15 cm broad, in May-June.
Fruits of berry appearance, appreciated by birds.
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, its berries are food of the Gods. The Celts gave it the power to expel evil spirits and protect homes.
Uses: the fruit is used in liqueur ("gnole" in Burgundian), in sorbet, in jam, but must be avoided crude because it is slightly toxic. It also makes a tincture (it stains clothing!), while the wood was used to make wind instruments and whistles. The fruit pulp was used as a carrier for microscopic observations (slide containing the organisms to be observed).

Pruning: in february.
Danger: the fruit is to avoid because it produces a strong redemption and nausea.


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