Trees A Crowd


Elder: The people’s purple medicine chest lined with pariahs, period pop-guns & poo

Season 3, Ep. 39

Our fifty-third tree, Elder (Sambucus nigra). The “medicine chest of the common people” has probably helped keep more people healthy than any other native British tree, and yet it is derided for its smell, associated with Christ’s betrayal, and when burnt is said to provide a mouthpiece for the devil and/or a malign tree spirit. The Elder is a symbol of Summer, has one of the most cherished berries out there (cherished by both man and beast), and has inspired our greatest playwrights, botanists and podcasters! (Special thanks to Deirdre Mullins, Adam Ewan and Pete Basham for adding their voices to this episode.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at:

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