This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
A shrub barely a yard high, with oval obtuse leaves very shortly petioled. Flower-stalk much shorter than the yellowish white petals. Berries blue-black, globular.
Bushy places and damp Alpine pastures up to 6500 feet, especially on limestone. May, June. Once, above Saas Fee in Switzerland, this was growing as high as 8000 feet.
Central and Northern Europe, Alps and Pyrenees, Caucasus, Siberia, N. America.
Trees, shrubs, or tall herbs, with opposite pinnate leaves, and large corymbs or cymes of numerous small, white, or nearly white, flowers. Calyx with a border of 5 small teeth. Corolla rotate, with 5 spreading divisions. Stamens 5. Stigmas 3, sessile. Berries small, globular, with 3 stones, each containing one seed. About 12 species in temperate and tropical regions of the globe.
Flowers pale greenish yellow, in a dense oval panicle. Fruit scarlet or deep coral red. A small tree, 8-12 feet high. Branches rather soft, with yellowish pith. Leaf-segments elliptic, longly acuminate, with sharp teeth. Stipules small, green, falling. Inflorescence erect. Flowers pedicelled. Anthers yellow. A very handsome object when covered with scarlet berries in autumn.
Switzerland (common), Europe, especially Central, Siberia, N. America.
The Common Elder (Sambucus nigra) and the Dwarf Elder (S. Ebulus) are widely spread in Switzerland. The latter is found in pastures and waste places, and near villages in many Alpine valleys.
Root creeping, throwing up barren shoots and flowering stems 3 or 4 inches high, naked, glandular, and bearing on slender pedicels 2 or rarely 3 pendent, white, campanulate, sweet-scented flowers with pink veins. Leaves opposite, shortly stalked, ovate orbicular, slightly crenate, evergreen, rather coriaceous. Capsule berry-like, glandular-hairy, inferior.
Creeping in moss and over rocks in damp, shady places in Alpine woods up to 6600 feet; local. June to August.
Carpathians, Riesengebirge, Harz Mountains, N. German Plain, Haute-Savoie, near the Swiss frontier (rare), Eastern Switzerland (Engadine, etc.) and locally, in the southern valleys of Valais from Bagnes to Saas; Norway, Scotland, Northern Asia, and N. America.