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Plant Identification

DowserDowser Posts: 2


Would anybody be able to identify the plant in the pictures below.

There used to be a row of 30 year old, out of control, fir trees where these plants/bushes are now.

The firs were removed for safety reasons, and to allow light into the adjacent gardens, but these bushes have sprung up and are quickly getting out of control also. 

They are easily 12ft high right now and me and the other neighbours are wondering just how high they are going to get, and whether they are going to cause problems.

None of us have seen anything like these plants before and cannot seem to identify them via google.




Here's hoping somebody can help identify these plants/bushes.




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,720

    Common elder - Sambucus nigra (elderberry wine, elderflower cordial etc). 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    Elder is quite a weedy shrub but the flowers & fruits are quite good for wildlife and as Dovefromabove says there are various recipes you can use them in. The fruits turn black when ripe. It coppices very easily so when it gets too big you can just cut the plants down to the base (ideally in winter although it doesn't really matter) and let them regrow.

  • DowserDowser Posts: 2

    Excellent response times Dovefromabove and Onopordum, and great info too!

    Its very interesting to find out that its Elder.  I'm looking forward to the fruit ripening now, as I'm partial to a bit of foraging.

    My big concern, and my neighbours, was that it was going to get seriously out of control and start blocking light into our gardens again, as its not on our ground and we have no authority to start working with it, or trimming it back.

    Now that I know what it is, I have been able to Google it and it seems 4 metres would be its maximum height, which we could all live with, as it would provide a nice level of privacy without blocking any light from our gardens.

    I have one last question, which is more curiosity than anything.  Could this have sprung up naturally, in place off the felled fir trees, or has the landowner put a bit of thought into the foliage he has selected to replace the firs?  The row of firs was approximately 150 yards long, and within two years the whole length has become overgrown with Elder.

    If he did this on purpose, I'm quite impressed with his choice of plant, and will definitely be downloading a few recipes for harvest time.

    Thank you for your help Dove and Ono


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,720

    It could be either ... without asking you won't know ... it commonly springs up from bird droppings so birds perching overnight in the fir trees could have 'sown' them .... but on the other hand if it's a long line of shrubs all about the same size it could be that the land-owner has made a really thoughtful choice.  image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,720

    As an afterthought, it's also the plant that we used, as children, to make whistles from .... the young sticks have a centre filled with a spongy pith so after cutting and peeling we would poke the pith from the centre and get my Pa to make a hole in it and then sometimes (only sometimes) we would manage to get a sound out of it.

    Lots of traditions/superstitions around elder too 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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