Deciduous, exceptionally fast-growing shrubs with little ornamental value.
The elder is of value in a new garden, since it is a veritable pioneer in that it will quickly provide plenty of greenery and makes a good wind-break for other plants.
After a few years the elder can be removed.
Elders will grow in any type of soil and will even improve it, but the shrubs rarely last very long.
Sambucus nigra, European elder: Height to 6 m; a shrub, more rarely a small tree. Composite, off-white with a disagreeable scent in early to mid summer. The berries are dark violet in colour, excellent for making jam or jelly. ‘Aurea’ has golden-yellow foliage, very striking; ‘Laciniata’ has deeply incised leaves.