Elder is a deciduous
shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall, often branching from the base
with a deeply and longly furrowed bark. It is a native of woods, scrub,
roadsides and waste places, on lime- or nitrogen-rich soils.
creamy-white flowers, 5 mm across, are in plate-like clusters up to
20 cm in diameter, which open in June and July.
The juicy, round,
black fruits, which ripen in August and September, are the elderberries.
The stout twigs
are greyish and covered with prominent 'warts' called lenticels.