Sambucus ebulus - Sureau Yèble

Famille: Caprifoliaceae, Genre: Sambucus
Petit sureau, Herbe aux yeux, Herbe à l'aveugle, Herbe à punaises, Hièble, Sureau, Yèble
Vivace à croissance rapide (1.2m de haut par 1m de large).


Plein soleil ou mi-ombre
Tolère les vents forts
Humidité moyenne.
Tous sols. Tolère les sols très argileux.
Sol acide ou calcaire
Zone 5
Habitat originel
Waste ground, woods, hedgerows and scrub. especially on calcareous soils[7, 13].
Origine géographique
Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands south and east to the Mediterranean and Himalayas.

Dangers connus

  • Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves and stems of some, if not all, members of this genus are poisonous [9, 76].
  • The fruit of this species has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people .
  • Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked [65, 76].


  • Fruit - cooked .
  • It is used as a flavouring in soups etc [177].
  • The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters [200].
  • Faites attention, voir les notes sur la toxicité .
  • Leaves are used as a tea substitute [105, 177].
  • Faites attention, voir les notes sur la toxicité .

Usages médicinaux

  • The leaves are antiphlogistic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative [4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 240].
  • The fruit is also sometimes used, but it is less active than the leaves [4].
  • The herb is commonly used in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints [4].
  • When bruised and laid on boils and scalds, they have a healing effect [4].
  • They can be made into a poultice for treating swellings and contusions [4].
  • The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use [7].
  • The root is diaphoretic, mildly diuretic and a drastic purgative [4, 7, 9].
  • Dried, then powdered and made into a tea, it is considered to be one of the best remedies for dropsy [4, 240].
  • It should only be used with expert supervision because it can cause nausea and vertigo [9].
  • A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh berries or the bark [9].
  • It is used in the treatment of dropsy [9].

Autres usages

  • A blue dye and an ink are obtained from the fruit [13, 46, 61, 115].
  • The root juice is used to dye hair black [4].
  • The leaves are said to repel mice and moles [4, 115].
  • Plants make a dense ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way [208].
  • They are best used in large areas, roadsides etc [208].
  • Our experience to date (1995) is that the plants spread vigorously but do not form a dense cover and so do not exclude other plants [K].


  • Tolerates most soils, including chalk[200], but prefers a moist loamy soil [11, 200].
  • Pousse bien dans les sols très argileux .
  • Tolerates some shade but is best in a sunny position [1].
  • Tolerates atmospheric pollution and coastal situations [200].
  • A very invasive plant, sending up new shoots a metre or more away [K].
  • It can be used for naturalising in the rougher parts of the garden[233], growing well on rough banks etc [1].
  • The whole plant, when bruised, emits a most unpleasant fur-like smell [245].
  • The bark, in particular, smells like stale perspiration [245].


  • Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it should germinate in early spring .
  • Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame but will probably germinate better if it is given 2 months warm followed by 2 months cold stratification first [78, 98, 113].
  • Repiquez les pousses dans des pots individuels quand elles sont suffisamment grandes pour être manipulées .
  • If good growth is made, the young plants can be placed in their permanent positions during the early summer .
  • Otherwise, either put them in a sheltered nursery bed, or keep them in their pots in a sheltered position and plant them out in spring of the following year .
  • Division of suckers in spring or autumn .
  • Très facile .


En fleur
7 - 8
Maturité des graines
8 - 9


Type de fleur
Hermaphrodite (les fleurs ont des organes mâles et femelles)
Bees, flies, beetles, self


Autres réferences


[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 1951.
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4] Grieve. A Modern Herbal. 1984.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7] Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. 1984.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9] Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. 1981.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[11] Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. 1981.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[13] Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. 1975.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17] Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. 1962.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21] Lust. J. The Herb Book. 1983.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[46] Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. 1959.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61] Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. 1974.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[65] Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. 1984.
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
[76] Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. 1984.
Concentrates mainly on the effects of poisonous plants to livestock.
[78] Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. 1948.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[98] Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
[105] Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. 1976.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[113] Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. 1987.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[115] Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[177] Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. 1984.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[208] Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover 1990.
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
[240] Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). 1986.
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[245] Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. 1994.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.