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Trees (Native British)

22 23 A small tree, frequently branching close to the base and flourishing wherever the nitrogen content of the soil is high, near dwellings and refuse heaps. Interestingly, flies have an aversion to the leaves which if dried and powdered make a useful insect repellent. Elder colonises very quickly and soon becomes established, often under timber trees including Larch. It is usually cut out of hedgerows during laying as it tends to kill other species with its vigour and shading. Much loved by children who relish its twigs soft pith to hollow out for peashooters, pipes and whistles. Easily distinguished by its umbels of highly scented white flowers which, if picked in full sun, make an excellent white wine. A superb claretlike red wine can be made from the abundant purple berries. The berries are rich in vitamin C if a trifle sour and when mixed with honey make an excellent cough remedy. Strongly associated with evil and never to be burned in a charcoal makers kiln it is inevitably a lousy firewood. ElDER Sambucus nigra
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