Sunday, 25 May 2008


The flowers of the elder. The elder has thirteenth place in the Ogham cycle and governs November 25th to December 22nd.
There is much written in folklore about this hedgerow tree. It is highly valued by herbalists and is often referred to as the medicine-chest of the country (it was used to cure the bite of adders). Today it is used in cosmetics and to make eye lotions.
Superstition about the elder existed in some parts of the country where it had associations with witchcraft and death and was considered unlucky to burn. However, in other parts it was thought to give protection against evil and was often planted near to houses or near to the larder window to protect against flies.
Elderflowers are used to make fragrant wine, non-alcoholic cordial (a personal favourite) and herbal tea. Various parts of the elder can also be used for dyes - the leaves give a green one, the berries a blue-lilac and the bark, black.
In country folk-lore the Elder is associated with the rook which is symbolic of the British countryside.