Black Elder, Elderberry

Young Black Elder in a sandbox
Young Black Elder growing in a sandbox

Sambucus nigra

The Black Elder adds colour to urban spaces. It sprouts early and can show its first leaves as soon as mid-March. And it keeps them for a long time; here in the region, green elder shrubs can be seen until December.

Sambucus nigra grows as a tree or shrub and may reach a height of up to 10 metres. It can cope with lean sites and even grows on walls and in stone cracks.

Black Elder in mid March
Black Elder showing new leaves in mid March.

This plant, also known as European Elder, European Elderberry and European Black Elderberry, could be called a shrubby weed.

Why it does not have this reputation is quickly explained:

Because many healthy or sinful goodies can be made from its flowers and fruits.

Snow covered Black Elder in December
Snow-covered Black Elder in early December.