The Bour Tree or Elder Tree

My name is Steffany McMenamin. I live in a area of Irvine called Bourtreehill. Bourtreehill is named after a famous tree called the Bour tree or bush. The Bour tree is the common name for the Elder tree or bush. You can see a lot of Bour trees from our classroom window. This tree will grow very easily.

The Bour tree has many magical powers. It is thought that strange things happen because of this tree. Myths and legends tell us that ghosts and spirits haunt the tree.

If you make a head dress from its flowers you are supposed to be able to see spirits and ghosts and talk to them and if you make a flute from the Bour tree wood it summons ghosts when you play it. Many myths tell us that the spirits are evil.

If you cut down the Bour tree and use it to make furniture or firewood, the house in which the furniture goes will be haunted by the evil spirits. If you plant a Bour tree in your front garden it stops evil spirits haunting you perhaps that is why there are so many in Bourtree hill.

Perhaps the stories about ghosts and spirits were to stop people bringing the wood into they’re homes because the wood is full of ants and earwigs.

Perhaps they used the wood to make flutes because the wood was very easy to hollow out. Bad boys made pea shooters from the tree as the pith is soft and easy to scrape out.

As well as all the stories about ghosts, ghouls and spirits the Bour tree is also famous for its healing powers. The reason for this is that long ago, the trees flowers, leaves and berries was used for medicines.

Long ago before hospitals people made cures from the bour tree. People used all of the tree. The flowers improved your complexion and got rid of spots, warts and blackheads if you washed with them.

The leaves on this tree are laxative. Long ago when people had a sore stomach they mixed the leaves with hot water and drunk the liquid. The leaves cure burns and healed skin when you used them in a poultice.

Even today scientists are using extracts of this plant to experiment with. Scientists think that extracts from the tree might help cure Asthma, heart problems and even H.I.V.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this story and that you will try and spot a Bour tree.


Written by: Steffany McMenamin

Towerlands Primary School