The Elder has Flowered!

IMG_8330

Another magical tree of the Scottish Highlands, the elder has just come into bloom in Strathspey.

R_-RUIS_Elder_Hamish_Napier_The_Woods

Elder is represented by letter ‘R’ in the Scottish Gaelic tree alphabet. ‘R’ is for RUIS [Roosh], Elder, droman, eller, borral, boortree, bountree, Sambucus nigra.

Here’s a tune I composed for this tree!

 

From The Woods, released March 21, 2020

Musicians:
Hamish Napier – F flute
Ross Ainslie – Small pipes in C
James Lindsay – bass
Steve Byrnes – guitar, drums

The pithy cores of elder branches were hollowed out to make a ‘bountry-gun’, a child’s peashooter.

The pale, hard and easily polished wood was used to make chanters and whistles at one time.

Highlanders planted elder near their house to keep the devil at bay, while burning it was thought to summon him.

The wood spits and screams on the fire.

The strong smelling leaves seem to deter flies and so were placed around the home for reasons of hygiene.

Elder has compound leaves divided into five to seven elegant leaflets.

The dark autumn elder berries are tasty, as are elderflower champagne and cordial.

Elder is most commonly found at woodland edges and on grasslands.

Check out Trees for Life‘s brilliant website for more on elder.

 

The Bourtree - Elder Tree

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s