Elder is also known as Bour tree and is most usually seen grown in hedgerows where it has a more shrub like appearance. In June the white blossoms are produced in flat infloresences which will later produce large clustrers of small shiny black berries.
The native elder, Sambucus nigra, is deciduous and its leavesgive off a strong odour when crushed or rubbed. It is said that elder leaves can deter flies from entering the house.
Elder flowers can be made into delicious elder flower cordial or even a sparkling “champagne’. The berries make an excellent jam and even wine.
In gardens the wild elder is usually restricted to hedgerows where it is a great plant for supporting wildlife. Its hollow stems are sometimes used as nest chambers for bumble bees and shelter for hibernating insects, the berries are eaten by birds and the flowers are visited by bees.
A dark leaved variety with pink flowers is often planted in ornamental gardens, it is called S. nigra ‘Black Beauty’.