Uncertain but probably comes from the middle English or High German word relating to alder, before the 12th century. This style of word was used to describe trees with a certain kind of leaf.
What kind of Tree ?
The genus Sambucus that is prevalent all over Europe.
When was it discovered?
The North American Indians and Europeans used the flowers for medicinal purposes
mostly to cure colds for 100's of years. There are records since medival times in Europe using the Elderberry.
Some parts are toxic !
The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a cyanide producing glycoside. Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause toxic build of cyanide in the body. In addition, the unripened berry, flowers and "umbels"( flower clusters) contain a toxic alkaloid.
The ripened berries and skin are fine to eat
Both flowers and berries are widely eaten
North American Indians made a tea of the flowers.
Makes a good Wine , Jelly, Jam, and syrup.
Often the flower clusters were used to flavor jams and jellies.
They would add flowers into the pot of fruit and simmer till
the proper flavor was achieved.
Soda Pop too??
Fanta marketed a soft drink variety from Elderberries called "Shokata" which was sold in 15 countries worldwide. and in the United States
Fanta Shokata 1.5L Imported Europe
Karen Kinnane talks about how her friends family use to pick and make
Elderberry Jelly in rural Germany