Elderberries can now be seen behind the Tropical House at the UC Botanical Garden. This isn't a great picture, but you get the idea. Do you remember the play, "Arsenic and old Lace"? Old ladies poisoned men by putting arsenic in their elderberry wine. There is also a famous quote from Monty Python, in which one knight insults another by saying, "Your mother was a hamster and your fathere smelled of elderberries!" I think elderberries smell okay, and the flowers are supposed to have an excellent fragrance, so I don't really understand. Maybe I am not supposed to.
In some cultures, this plant is known for housing fantastical creatures and having magical properties. The tree was sacred to the Goddess and was home to tree dryads. A leaf pinned to a door would keep away evil spirits. For a more info about elderberry mythology, check out this website: