The Elderberry panax, Polyscias sambucifolia, is a plant native to the area. It is particularly graceful and has flourished since the drought broke in 2010, with stands developing in areas that tend to moisture.
There is some variability in leaf form, with a tendency to a long ovate shape.
The flowers – found in December, this year – are described as ‘insignificant’ although the bright green panicles are attractive to the local bees.
The fruit is a lovely transparent steel blue and is said to be edible…we tried it and, yes, it is. When the fruit falls easily into your hand, it seems ready to eat. It has a sweet taste but – be warned – a somewhat astringent finish.
Sources and further references
Bull, M. (2014) Flora of Melbourne: A Guide to the Indigenous Plants of the Greater Melbourne Area, Fourth Edition, Hyland House Publishing.
Hadlow, B. and Australian National Botanic Gardens (2013) Polyscias sambucifolia, Elderberry Panax. http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp12/polyscias-sambucifolius.html
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyscias_sambucifolia