A mature tree can be up to 6 metres high. It grows extremely vigorously; even if it is coppiced back to a stump, new growth will reach up to 4 feet in height in one season.
Elder is also a great source for a variety of coloured dyes and historically it was used to make lushly patterned Harris Tweed. Blue and purple dye was obtained from the berries, yellow and green from the leaves, and grey and black dye was made from the bark.
Photo: Samples of Harris Tweed showing colours that would originally have been made with dyes obtained from Elder