Sambucus ebulus

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European dwarf elder
Sambucus ebulus bgiu.jpg
Danewort inflorescence
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Sambucus
Species: S. ebulus
Binomial name
Sambucus ebulus
L.
Synonyms[1]
  • Ebulum humile (Mill.) Garcke
  • Sambucus herbacea Gilib.
  • Sambucus humilis Mill.
Dwarf elder berries

Sambucus ebulus, also known as danewort, dane weed, danesblood, dwarf elder or European dwarf elder, walewort,[2] elderwort and blood hilder is a herbaceous species of elder, native to southern and central Europe and southwest Asia. The species is also reportedly naturalized in parts of North America (New York State, New Jersey and Québec).[3]

Description[edit]

S.ebulus grows to a height of 1–2 m and has erect, usually unbranched stems growing in large groups from an extensive perennial underground stem rhizome. The leaves are opposite, pinnate, 15–30 cm long, with 5-9 leaflets with a foetid smell. The stems terminate in a corymb 10–15 cm diameter with numerous white (occasionally pink) flat-topped hermaphrodite flowers. The fruit is a small glossy black berry 5–6 mm diameter. The ripe fruit give out a purple juice.[2] [4]

The name danewort comes from the belief that it only grows on the sites of battles that involved the Danes.[2] The term 'walewort' or 'walwort' meant 'foreigner plant.' The plant's stems and leaves turn red in autumn and this may explain the link with blood. The word Dane may link to an old term for diarrhoea.[2]

Uses[edit]

Sambucus ebulus fruits have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and fever.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ a b c d Westwood, Jennifer (1985). Albion. A Guide to Legendary Britain. London : Grafton Books. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. p. 103
  3. ^ BONAP (Biota of North America Project) floristic synthesis, Sambucus ebulus
  4. ^ Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 04656 4
  5. ^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B. Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs. J Ethnopharmacol.2013 Jun13. doi:pii: S0378-8741(13)00410-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23770053. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23770053

External links[edit]