elderberry tree

Above: the shrub like trunk.

Trees of London
London Trees


              Elderberries look delicious, and because of the uses made with them: jam and elderberry wine, it would be easy to think that they might be edible. However, be warned; they are unlikely to cause serious harm, but that is just because they induce vomiting before it gets to that stage.

              Cooking kills off the poisonous substances that they contain and a number of products have elderberries in them, including the popular Italian liqueur: sambuca.

            Elder berry wine is mentioned in children's stories, and though no one has ever drunk it, it is for this that the elder tree is famous.

Ripening elderberries. elderberry tree

Back to Index


Tree Identification

Sambucus nigra:

opposite; veins: pinnately compound, quite long;
leaflets: oval, pointed.

elder leaf
elder berries

nuts/fruit: black when ripe; very small; grow in clusters.

elder flowers

white; grow in clusters.

elder bark bark:
grey/brown, smooth.
grows to 10 metres; shrub like.
general: the berries are the elder's most striking feature.

No Map

There is one behind a fence where Hampstead Road, north of Euston,
meets North Gower Street.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©