07/10/2009 Flower of the Day: Honeysuckle

 

 

Japanese Honeysuckle - Lonicera japonica

Japanese Honeysuckle - Lonicera japonica

Starting in late spring, my grandkids start running around looking for honeysuckle blossoms.  They learned early on that if they wait until the white blossoms age until they just start turning yellow, they can pick the blossom, pull the base of the blossom off and pull the stigma through the corolla tube, and they’ll be rewarded with  a delicious drop of nectar as a treat. 

There are many honeysuckles in the United States – over 60 varieties – and most are native to the U.S.   But the one most of us think of when we think “honeysuckle” is an import from eastern Asia – Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica.  Kudzu may be more famous as an invasive plant (especially to those of us in the South), but Japanese honeysuckle is more common and widely distributed than kudzu in the U.S., being present in 38 states, while kudzu is present in 31 states.  Japanese honeysuckle is classified as a noxious weed in several states, and it is banned Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire – cultivation of the plant as an ornamental is how it got here in the first place.  It is difficult to eradicate the plant once it gets a foothold.  My grandkids seem to be fine with that.

Japanese Honeysuckle ready to provide a drop of nectar

Japanese Honeysuckle ready to provide a drop of nectar

One of our many native honeysuckles is Trumpet Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens.  This lovely red- or yellow-blossomed vine is native to 32 states in the eastern half of the U.S.  The photo below was taken in Grundy County, Tennessee.

Trumpet Honeysuckle - Lonicera sempervirens

Trumpet Honeysuckle - Lonicera sempervirens

References:
Plants.usda.gov

Wikipedia

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