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Dwarf Elder

Sambucus ebulus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Adoxaceae (Moschatel)
Semi-evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, scrub, wasteland, wetland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
The flowers are white and sometimes pink-tipped. They form flat-topped umbel-like clusters, up to 10cm across. Their anthers and stamens are purple.
The flowers develop into dark violet to black berry-like fruit
A hairless perennial, similar to Common Elder but the leaves have serrated margins and are more numerous. The leaves are in opposite pairs and have between 5 and 9 leaflets, up to 30cm long. The foliage dies back during winter.
The flowers and leaves smell unpleasantly of bitter almonds.
Other Names:
Blood Hilder, Dane Ball, Dane Weed, Dane's Weed, Danesblood, Danewort, Deadwort, Dwarf Elderberry, Elderwort, European Dwarf Elder, Ground Elder, Walewort, Wallwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Sambucus ebulus, also known as dwarf elder or danewort, is a species of flowering plant in the Adoxaceae family. It is native to Europe and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. The plant is known for its clusters of small, white flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer, as well as its black berries, which are not edible. The leaves and stems of the plant contain a toxic compound and should not be eaten. Dwarf elder is not commonly used in traditional medicine. It is important to note that the safety and effectiveness of using dwarf elder for medicinal purposes have not been thoroughly studied and it is not recommended for use as a medicine without the guidance of a healthcare professional.


Dwarf Elder, also known as Sambucus ebulus, is a small shrub that is native to Europe and Asia. This plant is known for its medicinal properties and is widely used in traditional medicine for its various health benefits.

The Dwarf Elder plant has dark green leaves that are small and serrated. In the spring, it produces small white flowers that are arranged in clusters. These flowers are followed by bright red berries that are a food source for birds. The berries are also used to make teas, syrups, and jams.

One of the most important health benefits of Dwarf Elder is its ability to boost the immune system. The plant contains compounds that have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These compounds help to protect the body against diseases and infections. Dwarf Elder is also known to improve respiratory health and is used to treat a range of respiratory issues such as colds, flu, and bronchitis.

Another health benefit of Dwarf Elder is its ability to support healthy skin. The plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness and inflammation in the skin. It is also used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

In addition to its health benefits, Dwarf Elder is also used for its culinary purposes. The berries are used to make jams, syrups, and teas, and can also be used to flavor cakes and pies. The plant's leaves and flowers can also be used to flavor drinks, salads, and other dishes.

Dwarf Elder is a small shrub that is packed with health benefits. Its medicinal properties make it an important plant in traditional medicine, and its culinary uses make it a popular ingredient in the kitchen. Whether you are looking to boost your immune system, support healthy skin, or add flavor to your dishes, Dwarf Elder is a plant that you should definitely consider adding to your life.

Dwarf Elder is a hardy plant that grows well in a variety of soils and climates. It is well suited to temperate regions and can be found growing wild in hedgerows and woodland areas. Despite its hardiness, Dwarf Elder is not commonly found in cultivation and is often overlooked as an ornamental plant.

However, the Dwarf Elder is a beautiful and versatile plant that deserves more attention. Its small size makes it an ideal choice for small gardens and patios, and it can also be grown in pots. Its compact form and attractive foliage make it a great choice for use in borders and rock gardens.

In terms of care, Dwarf Elder is a low maintenance plant that requires very little attention. It should be planted in a sunny or partially shaded area, and it should be watered regularly. Pruning should be carried out in the spring to remove any dead or damaged wood and to encourage the plant to produce new growth.

The medicinal properties of Dwarf Elder have been recognized for centuries. In traditional medicine, the plant has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory problems, skin conditions, and digestive issues.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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