Information on Elder

Common Name: Elder
Scientific Name: Sambucus nigra
Irish Name: Trom
Family Group: Adoxaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Elder could sometimes be confused with:

Elder, Dwarf,

This is a deciduous shrub which grows to a height of 10m in hedges, waste places and along lanes throughout the country.  It has pinnate leaves which are divided into 5-9 oval, stalked leaflets.  In May it hosts heavily scented flat-topped corymbs of creamy-white 5-petalled flowers (each 5-6mm across). The fruit which follows is in the form of dark purple berries which are much loved by the birds.  This is a native shrub belonging to the family Adoxaceae. 

My first memory of this shrub is of seeing it at Loughlinstown, Co Dublin in 1958. The photographs were taken in Tullycanna, Co Wexford in 2007. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Elderberries are a very good source of Vitamin C and also make wonderful jelly and wines – but don't forget to leave some for the birds.

 'The elder tree stinks to the present day because Judas hanged himself out of an elder tree.' 

From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC 462:301 From Co Tipperary