How to identify an elder tree
How do you identify an elder tree?
Wondering if you are looking at an elder tree? Your clues are their leaves, flowers and fruit. Here’s what they look like at-a-glance:
Elder tree facts
Hello! In today’s guide we are going to learn how to identify an elder tree. Are you ready? Let’s get started! Here are a few elder tree facts:
- Common name: Elder
- Latin name: Sambucus nigra
- Family: Adoxaceae
Elder trees can grow up to 15 meters tall, live for up to 60 years and prefer growing in woodlands and hedgerows.
Elder leaves are pinnate, lightly toothed and grow in opposite pairs.
The buds are scruffy looking and raggedy.
Elders have tiny, 5-petalled creamy-white flowers in large umbel-like clusters.
The berries are small, purpley-black and grow in clusters on purpley-red stems.
Trees that look similar to elder
Elder tree uses
- Medicinal – Elder is traditionally used as an immune tonic
- Dyes – The elder gives a variety of dyes – blue and purple (berries), yellow or green (leaf), grey and black (bark)
- Bushcraft – Elder trees are valuable food plants – their flowers and berries are both edible (though berries need cooking)
- Wildlife – Many birds, animals and moths feed on the flowers and fruit of this tree