24/01/2021. Grid Reference: ND445937
Elderberry, Sambucus nigra,
Common names include elder, elderberry, black elder, European elder, European elderberry, and European black elderberry Elderberry is a deciduous shrub or small tree not native to Orkney, but frequently found planted around the county, growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall and wide, The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing, prominent. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10–30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5–12 cm long and 3–5 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The young stems are hollow. The English term for the tree is not believed to come from the word "old", but from the Anglo Saxon æld, meaning fire, because the hollow stems of the branches were used as bellows to blow air into a fire You can find these planted along the Pier road in the Hope . Interestingly the trees on pier road are mostly 3" -9" diameter, but there are much larger trunks that are now dead and decaying some of these are over 24" in diameter, dead to ground level with new growth, growing from the base this can be seen in the picture below, the upright dead trunk has new growth on the left side 3" in diameter and joined to the dead wood. The Pier road Elder's flower each year and & produce berries but they never ripen, maybe the season is not long enough , unless the birds are eating them first.