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Elder flowers come from the same plant as elder berries and, like the berries, contain bioflavonoids. Elder flowers are used in teas, skin care salves, lotions and washes, cosmetics, and to make a soothing gargle.
Before harvest, elder flowers are an umbrella-like mass (umbels), made up of inflorescence (a flowering structure composed of more than a single flower), that are typically flat topped to convex. Each axis or main stem ends in a flower, with the oldest flowers in the center, and younger ones successively arising from the branches of the previous. After being harvested from the tree, they are composed primarily of individual flowers, and unopened buds, approximately 1 mm in size. Some individual flower petals may be present in addition to small amounts of leaf and stem pieces (1% or less).