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Perfoliate Honeysuckle

Lonicera caprifolium

  • Name also: Goat-leaf Honeysuckle, Italian Honeysuckle, Italian Woodbine, Perfoliate Woodbine, Caprifole
  • Family: Honeysuckle Family – Caprifoliaceae
  • Growing form: Wood-stemmed climber.
  • Height: 2–3 m (40–80 in.). Branches almost glabrous.
  • Flower: Corolla irregular (zygomorphic), yellowish white–reddish, 3–5 cm (1.2–2 in.) long, fused, long-tubed, bilabiate, upper lip 4-lobed, lower lip entire. Corolla outer surface virtually glabrous. Calyx 5-lobed. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 3 fused carpels, ovary trilocular, style solitary. Flowers a dense terminal inflorescence, 2–3 basally united leaf pairs under inflorescence.
  • Leaves: Opposite, stalked. Blade elliptic–widely elliptic, blunt–widely tapered, with entire margin, glabrous (sometimes hairy when young), dark green on top, bluish green underside.
  • Fruit: Orangey red, juicy berry.
  • Habitat: Yards, wasteland, forest margins, broad-leaved forests. Ornamental, sometimes wild.
  • Flowering time: June.

Genus Lonicera includes around 110 species, most of which grow in warm and temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. Species that grow in Finland include decorative fly honeysuckle (L. xylosteum), which grows in the wide forests of central Finland, and the rare and protected blue-berried honeysuckle (L. caerulea), which can be found at least in Oulanka National Park in Kuusamo. The genus includes a number of North American and European mountain species that are cultivated as ornamentals that have to a certain extent put down roots in gardens and parks, and also as a part of Finland’s urban nature. Honeysuckle berries are efficiently spread by birds, but humans should never eat them: their unpleasant or bitter tasting berries are poisonous to mammals.

Feral honeysuckle in Finland, like most of the ornamentals in the genus, are bushes, but south-east European honeysuckle is a wood-stemmed climber, or liana. In favourable conditions it can climb high on a trellis and the winding stem can reach a respectable length. If it has no support it can grow on the ground in a messy tangle. The plant is a valued ornamental not just for its charming flowers, but also its brightly coloured berries which remain on the stem after the leaves have withered and fallen.

Perfoliate honeysuckle’s uppermost leaf pairs have grown together in a bowl shape, upon which the inflorescence sits as if it is on a tray. The plant is pollinated at night, when it attracts flying insects in the dusk with the heady scent of its flowers. Especially on a warm and calm summer night the fragrance can be smelled from afar. It is intended for night butterflies, of which the large hawk moth with its long proboscis is especially likely to be found sucking the nectar from the flowers.

(Common) Honeysuckle

Lonicera periclymenum

Also known as European honeysuckle, Woodbine. NOT TRANSLATED YET. Toistakin köynnöskuusamaa meillä voi tavata villistä luonnostamme, tosin hyvin harvinaisena karkulaisena. Länsi-Euroopasta kotoisin olevan ruotsinköynnöskuusaman erottaa tuoksuvasta serkustaan ehkä parhaiten siitä, että kukinnon eikä hedelmävaiheessa marjojen alla ole yhdiskasvuista lehtiparia. Ja siitä että kukkia ja myöhemmin marjoja on selvästi enemmän.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family
Flowers from the same family

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