Herbs or shrubs with pinnate leaves and large compound cymes of small white flowers. Calyx-limb 3- to 5-toothed.

Corolla rotate. Stamens 5. Berry 3- to 5-celled; cells one-seeded. There are about ten species, widely dispersed in temperate regions. The name is from 8 Sambucus 205 a musical instrument, in reference to the former use of the wood.

1. S. nigra. Elder. - There are several varieties of this common tree in cultivation, including one, laciniata, with the leaves deeply cut, and variegated forms of both varieties, and another with double flowers..

S. Ebulus, Danewort, is an indigenous herbaceous species with leafy stipules and smaller cymes, easily recognised as a congener of the commoner one. S. racemdsa is a South European species with yellowish flowers and scarlet berries. S. Canadensis and S. glauca are North American species rarely seen in our gardens.