I think I must have mentioned this before, but one of the things that continues to provoke me is that, whenever we discuss plants poisonous to people, people take great delight in eating them. Here today we have another example, the elder. The flowers, leaves, bark, roots are all poisonous at all times of the year. The berries, when fully ripe, are reasonably safe. The only concession to humanity that the plant makes, is that the flowers and berries can be eaten, with minimal chance of ill effect, if they have been cooked.
The Woodland Trust mentions that it is thought the word elder derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for fire – because the stems could be hollowed out easily and used to blow through, for furnaces and things. My friend Google also pointed out, at one time it was thought that planting elder by your house would keep The Devil away, but anyone who burned elder could expect a prompt visit from him. And then, there have been some real scientific tests done that show elderberry extract really does help to relieve flu symptoms.
Do you think there’s a connection here? He is used to a warmer environment, you know. He probably doesn’t have a nice warm coat to wear while he’s around these parts.