Ajuntament de Barcelona

Sambucus nigra

Miramar Garden and Camí dels Cims

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    English name: 
    Black elder
    Species characteristics
    Europe, Northwestern Africa and Southwestern Asia
    Humid bramble patches, humid forest clearings, shadowy rocky areas, etc.

    Deciduous shrub 3-4 m tall, with a dense crown. The bark is greyish and rough, becoming corky when aging.

    The leaves, 10-15 cm long, are compound and opposite, composed of 5-7 oval-lanceolate leaflets, which finish in a tip and have jagged margins. The lower side is lightly tomentous.

    The fragrant white flowers, which are abundant, have a corolla formed by 5 petals and appear intoflat corymbs (the flowers, born in different stem spots, rise up to a similar level).

    The fruits are rounded berries, 6-8 mm in diameter. Its colour is reddish at first turning to bright black when ripen. Every fruit contains 3-5 seeds.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Flowers and berries from the Elderberry are very popular to make infusions, sodas and liqueurs. With the fruits, edible if mature and boiled, juices and melmelades are made, as well as jams, sauce and soup.

    Several ache problems are treated with Elderberry because of its properties.

    Its leaves where used in ancient times to drive away flies while riding horses.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Sambucus nigra, comes from the genus name Sambucus, from the Greek σαμβύκη, "elder", and the Latin term nigra, "black", alluding perhaps the colour of the ripe fruits.

    The toxicity of the black elder is very high if the different elements are not properly treated.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996