In ancient mythology, the Elder tree is highly sacred with a spirit known as the Elder Mother, or ‘Hylde Moer’ in Danish, living inside the tree. This spirit guards every Elder tree and has the ability to protect and to harm. Legend has it that magical powers from the Elder Mother are gifted by her to parts of the tree and she transforms the tree’s natural gifts - flowers, berries and wood - into wonderful blessings! The leaves of the Elder tree protect a home or a person when dried and hung in a doorway or around the neck. It is a particularly good omen if an Elder grows near a dwelling, as the tree’s proximity to the home protects its inhabitants. In many ancient legends the Elder tree is magical and symbolises good health and prosperity.
Most famously, Elder has been treasured for its medicinal uses for thousands of years. It is believed to be a curative for more than 70 diseases, ranging from the plague to toothache! In medieval England it was said that summer had not arrived until the Elder was in full bloom and that it ended when the berries were ripe.
The Elder is a pretty, deciduous tree that naturally transforms with every season. Its lush, green leaves unfurl in early spring, an abundance of large, scented white flowers blossom in summer and glossy black berries ripen every autumn. The Elder tree will happily grow in any garden or flower pot and it is wonderful for wildlife, especially the honey bees and garden birds.