The elder species above have slowly, by and by, seeped into our nature. Brought here as ornamental trees for gardens and parks (flowers, leaves and fruits are all pretty) and spread by birds who eagerly eat the red berries - or botanically, the drupes - of the red-berried elder and spill the seeds on the ground with "fertiliser“. So we meet the red-berried elder at forest verges, mixed forests and even in spruce stands, on the waste lands of cities, „unofficial“ rubbish tips, behind sheds ...
The little fruits of the red-berried elder are for some reason held to be toxic. Only the seeds are slightly poisonous; the fruit flesh is delicious and nutritionists consider them beneficial for the organism. But – do not test the berries raw, and the seeds must be spit out.
Elderberry jam should however be very tasty: One recipe is given here; someone might be interested in cooking it – it is the right time after all: for half a kilo of elderberries take 100 ml of water, the juice of two lemons and half a kilo of sugar. Simmer on low heat for 30 – 40 minutes. It will certainly be a novel taste sensation.
In West Estonia and on the islands the elder, with black berries, is sometimes encountered in nature – a less hardy species from the same genus, preferring to grow in a maritime climate. Its larger berries, in clusters resembling those of rowanberries, are poisonous.