The Honeysuckle is a family of arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae and are native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 known species of the plant, with approximately 100 of those native to China. Another 20 native species occur in Europe, India and, North America each.
Most species of Honeysuckle are strong twining climbers. The leaves are opposite, and simple ovals and they average approximately 4.5 in (10 cm) in length. Most varieties are deciduous, but some are evergreen.
Many of the species have sweetly-scented flowers that produce a sweet, edible nectar. Most flowers are borne in clusters of two.
Both shrubby and vining sorts have strongly fibrous stems which are suitable for binding and textiles.
The fruit is a red, blue or black spherical or elongated berry. These berries contain several seeds and in most species the berries are mildly poisonous. However, in a few cases they are edible and suitable for commerce.
Most Honeysuckle berries are attractive to wildlife. For example, butterflies and hummingbirds love them! Several species of honeysuckle have become invasive when introduced outside their native range. This is particularly true in New Zealand and the United States.
The plant is widely popular as garden decoration as they both smell beautifully and can cover unsightly walls and outbuildings. They are also popular for their beautiful flowers in summer.
The hardy climbing types need their roots in shade but they the flowering tops prefer sunlight or very light shade. Varieties need to be chosen with care because most grow prolifically.
Todd Sain Sr.