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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more


Sun 13th May 2012 11:18 by Michael Daniels
Elders again
As there still appears to be comments regarding Elders, thought this might just add some very antiquarian data on the topic. I had a look in my wonderful old and 'wikipedia' like English Cyclopaedia of 1855. These wonderful volumes, fantastically detailed, sorry about the superlatives, but they truly are incredible.  I have all four on Natural History and each is lavishly detailed and illustrated with beautiful engravings.  We bought eleven volumes for 10p each, these also covering Geography and Biography, from a junk shop at the Bakers Arms, Walthamstow.  Those were the days for book collecting way back in sixties!

As usual I digress, so back to Elders.  Here is what the writer had to say so long ago:

'Considerable medicinal value has at all times been popularly attributed to this plant, and it is only recently that it has fallen into comparative disuse amongst medicinal practitioners. In the rural districts of England a wine is made from the berries, which is in great repute, and when drunk hot is an agreeable stimulant. The flowers are employed for making distilled water, which is frequently used as a refrigerant, and on account of its agreeable odour is introduced into many articles of confectionery.  The pith on account of its solidity and great lightness, is used for making small figures and balls for electrical exper- iments.  The undeveloped buds, when pickled, form a good substitute for capers.'

Surely all a reflection of the wide degree of philosophical understanding of all things over one hundred and fifty years ago, a time when this country was in its prime - don't look around today!

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