Common Names: Black elderberry, elder, elderberry, black elder, European elder, European elderberry, European black elderberry
It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m tall and wide. The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10 to 30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5 to 12 cm long and 3 to 5 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The young stems are hollow. The hermaphrodite flowers have 5 stamens and are borne in large, flat corymbs 10 to 25 cm diameter in late spring to mid summer, the individual flowers ivory white, 5 to 6 mm diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry 3 to 5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in late autumn.