Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Magnoliopsida - Order: Dipsacales - Family: Caprifoliaceae
The elder is a fragile tree, often growing as a bush. Its hollow stems tend to fracture unless it grows in a very sheltered spot. The tree shown here is growing against a wall, which protects the fragile young trunks - many exposed Elders split long before they grow big enough to withstand strong winds. This is the tree on which we are told that Judas hanged himself.
The leaves are pinnate, with five to seven oval and toothed leaflets.
The flowers are used to make cordial and white wine. The leaves, however, are poisonous.
The ripe berries, popular with birds, are used to make preserves and as the basis of a red wine.