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European Dwarf Elder
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.

Danewort (Sambucus ebulus), also known as Dane Weed, Danesblood, Dwarf Elder or European Dwarf Elder and Walewort[1 ] is a herbaceous species of elder, native to southern and central Europe and southwest Asia. It grows to 1-2 m tall, with erect, usually unbranched stems growing in large groups from an extensive perennial underground 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) flowers. The fruit is a small glossy black berry 5-6 mm diameter. The ripe fruit give out a purple juice.[1 ]

The name Danewort comes from the belief that it only grows on the sites of battles that involved the Danes.[1 ] 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.[1 ]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Westwood, Jennifer (1985). Albion. A Guide to Legendary Britain. London : Grafton Books. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. p. 103.

External links


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