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The Wendy House Sambucus nigra,  or Elderberry (flickr photoshare)After consulting with the experts (mum, friend, their books, the internet) I thought that the nobly, noble, small tree in my garden was a ‘Sambucus nigra’ more commonly known as an Elderberry and before that as aeld.  

Like many trees the Mythical history of the Elderberry  proposes, or describes its traditional uses.  The name may come from the Anglo-Saxon term ellaern or aeld which means “fire” or “to kindle a fire“.   It was associated with female-centric goddess systems then over time gradually perverted to represent ‘mischievious faeries’  by both the celts of  Ireland and England.   Traditionally the Elder is placed by the back door of a home, where mine grows, to keep evil spirits from influencing or entering the home and used to pin the thatch to a roof.   The runic association is with Feh,  the first rune, indicating where one sequence ends and another begins,   the cusp of transition,   renewal.

 British Christians gave the Elder a more sinister press,   claiming that Judas committed suicide by hanging himself from this tree.   He must have been short or the tree leaning over a decent drop.   Along with many other trees it is claimed Jesus was crucified on an cross made of Elder.

Then a garden specialist happened to wander by saying  that’s a Viburnum tinus

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of lovely banter on “aeld”

  1. stephen king writes:

    Elder Berry or Flower Wine springs to mind! Bring on the summer.
    The Wendy House – a mellow place I thinks.



  2. Scarlet writes:

    Ah yes the Viburnum tinus… a totally different set of myths and folklore altogether . . .



  3. Kevin writes:

    If it’s the Laurustinus, as the expert says, you’ve a nice-smelling shrub.
    If it’s an elder then you’ve got elderflower cordial, goosegogs with elderflowers, elderflower champagne,
    elderflowers in tempura batter, elderberry wine, elderberry jam and as much elderberry rum as a girl could drink!



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