Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles (Lonicera, /lɒˈnɪsərə/;syn. Caprifolium Mill.) are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China while about 20 native species occur in Europe, India and, North America each. Widely known species include Lonicera periclymenum (honeysuckle or woodbine), Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle, white honeysuckle, or Chinese honeysuckle) and Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle, trumpet honeysuckle, or woodbine honeysuckle). Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers on some of these plants, especially L. sempervirens and L. ciliosa (orange honeysuckle). The name Lonicera stems from Adam Lonicer, a Renaissance botanist.


Description


Most species of Lonicera are hardy twining climbers, with a large minority of shrubby habit; a handful of species (including Lonicera hildebrandiana from the Himalayan foothills and L. etrusca from the Mediterranean) are tender and can only be grown outside in subtropical zones. The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1–10 cm long; most are deciduous but some are evergreen. Many of the species have sweetly-scented, bilaterally symmetrical flowers that produce a sweet, edible nectar, and most flowers are borne in clusters of two (leading to the common name of "twinberry" for certain North American species). Both shrubby and vining sorts have strongly fibrous stems which have been used for binding and textiles. The fruit is a red, blue or black spherical or elongated berry containing several seeds; in most species the berries are mildly poisonous, but in a few (notably Lonicera caerulea) they are edible and grown for home use and commerce. Most honeysuckle berries are attractive to wildlife, which has led to species such as L. japonica and L. maackii spreading invasively outside of their home ranges. Many species of Lonicera are eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see a list of Lepidoptera that feed on honeysuckles.


Invasive species


Several species of honeysuckle have become invasive when introduced outside their native range, particularly in New Zealand and the United States. Invasive species include L. japonica, L. maackii, L. morrowii, and L. tatarica.


Cultivation


Honeysuckles are valued as garden plants, for their ability to cover unsightly walls and outbuildings, their profuse tubular flowers in summer, and the intense fragrance of many varieties. The hardy climbing types need their roots in shade, and their flowering tops in sunlight or very light shade. Varieties need to be chosen with care, as they can become substantial.


Thanks to wikipedia.org

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