Start a new thread

1 to 11 of 11 replies


 Hi I have a Black Lace elder tree(sambucas nigra) that has been established for about six years.Earlier this year I had about 16 plants with blackish/green leaves shoot up in a line next to it. Assuming that they were from the tree I potted them to see what happened,but now they seem to have a completely different leaf to the tree.Can anyone identify if they are elder plants as,if they are,I would like to plant them elswhere.  

If these plants have come up as seedlings, then I suspect that they don't come true from seed, (having cross pollinated with a normal wild elder) and will therefore be more like the native elder. S nigra 'Black Lace' is usually propogated from cuttings.

If you bruise the leaves, elder has a very distinctive smell.


My black lace hasn't produced any self sets, but one on occasion a piece got broken off, I just stuck in in the soil alongside it, as you's now 4 feet high & happy in my friend's garden.


I would expect any of those fancy elders to seed back to something like the wild ones.

I think you may be right nutcutlet. I have a black lace with a seedling similar to the one in cherokee's photos.

As Kef says it does also come true from cuttings - courtesy of my postman who stood on one the the branches just after I planted it


Hi  Thanks for the replies. Looking on leaf ID sites I think you are right and it is a native elder.I am going to use them to try and grow some hedge screening at my daughters. With regular pruning it may work,or it may not,but worth a try.


I'd forget elder for a hedge cherokee. It grows too fast, gets all leggy. You can cut it back every year and have a decent barrier by the end of the season but half the year you have nothing. 

julie 7

can I ask anyone out there a slighty off the subject question about elders? I have a gorgeous black elder in my garden which was planted before I moved in around 8 years ago and was large then. I have over the years cut it down drastically but it always comes back - it currently is around 10' plus . My neighbour wants me to cut it down as he says it is a tree and is way too close to his house (about 2.5m) and he thinks the roots will damage his foundations. If he's right I guess it is and I will cut it down but sadly as it it so beautiful in the summer when all the pink flowers come out. Can anyone tell me if this is a shrub or a tree and whether the roots would be problematice so close to a house?

Yes I realise it will only be for half the year.My daughters front garden is 90' long with a public footpath running across it.She just wants a simple barrier between the footpath and the house,and it seemed a waste to bin these plants.

Julie, they can be either, but Sambucus nigra Black Lace is a shrub and my experience - I've had mine in about 6 years - the roots won't travel that far. I cut about a third of mine out each year in late winter/early spring and it puts on a good 6ft each year. As long as you time the pruning right you'll still get those beautiful flowers.

Even if it was a tree, most trees don't damage house foundations anyway 

julie 7

Thanks for that - if I promise to keep it trimmed and not too wild my neighbour might be happier!

Sign up or log in to post a reply