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. Oppositeleaves,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.