Factsheet F16: Elder – Sambucus species
The elder genus, Sambucus, consists of some 25 species perennials, shrubs and small trees from most regions of the world. They bear numerous tiny white flowers in flat-topped panicles, which are followed by heads of small round berries which are attractive to birds. Many species spread rapidly by suckers, and bids spread the seed.
Elders tolerate a wide range of soils, including chalk; also atmospheric pollution, coastal exposure and shade. They prefer a rich moist soil and sun or part shade (deep shade is tolerated but flowering and fruiting will be greatly restricted). All species are resistant to honey fungus (Armillaria spp.) The temperate species all tolerate winter temperatures of at least -20C.