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 Lonicera subsp. var.  Honeysuckle
Lonicera periclymenum
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Caprifoliaceae > Lonicera var. ,

Honeysuckles (genus Lonicera; 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, with by far the greatest diversity in China, where over 100 species occur; by comparison, Europe and North America have only about 20 native species each. Widely known species include Lonicera periclymenum (European Honeysuckle), Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle, White Honeysuckle, or Chinese Honeysuckle) and Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle, or Woodbine Honeysuckle).

The leaves are opposite, simple oval, and from 1–10 cm long; most are deciduous but some are evergreen. Many of the species have sweetly-scented, bell-shaped flowers that produce a sweet, edible nectar. The fruit is a red, blue or black berry containing several seeds; in most species the berries are mildly poisonous, but a few (notably Lonicera caerulea) have edible berries. The plant is eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Honeysuckles.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Lonicera (after Adam Lonicer or Lonitzer, a German physician and naturalist, 1528-1586). Including Caprifolium, Xylosteum, Nintoa and Charmaecerasus. Caprifoliaceae. Honeysuckle. Ornamental shrubs grown for their handsome, usually profusely produced, often fragrant flowers and attractive berries.

Deciduous, rarely half-evergreen or evergreen, upright or climbing: lvs. opposite, usually short- petioled, entire or very rarely sinuately lobed, in a few species with distinct stipules: fls. in axillary peduncled pairs, each pair with 2 bracts and 4 bractlets, the latter often more or less connate into a cupula, sometimes wanting, or fls. in sessile whorls at the end of the branches; calyx 5-toothed: corolla with short or slender, often gibbous tube; 2-lipped or almost equally 5-lobed; stamens 5; ovary inferior, usually 2-3-, rarely 5-celled; the pairs sometimes partly or wholly connate: berry few- to many-seeded.—About 175 species throughout the northern hemisphere, in Amer. south to Mex., in Asia south to Java; about 90 species, besides numerous varieties and many hybrids, are in cult. For an account of the genus see Rehder, Synopsis of the genus Lonicera in Ann. Rep. Missouri Bot. Gard. 14:27-232, 20 pl. (1903).

The honeysuckles belong to our most popular ornamental shrubs. They are of easy cultivation and propagation, most of them are quite hardy and the flowers, though rather small, are profusely produced, mostly of pleasing and delicate colors varying from white or yellow to pink, purple or scarlet, and followed by attractive red, yellow, white, blue or black fruits; the shrubs are never coarse or weedy, do not produce dead wood to any extent, do not need much pruning, and are long-lived.

The upright or bush honeysuckles are very valuable for shrubberies, and the low procumbent species, like L. spinosa var. Alberli, L. thibetica, L. pileata, and L. trichosantha, are well suited for rockeries. Most of the cultivated species are hardy North, but L. Standishii, L. fragrantissima, L. pileata, L. Ledrbourii, L. quinquelocularis, L. Webbiana, L. rupicola, and other Himalayan species are less hardy and need sheltered positions or protection North. Some of the handsomest in bloom are the well-known L. tatarica, L. Korolkovii, L. spinosa var. Alberti, L. Maackii, L. Morrowi, L. Ledebourii. For their sweet-scented early flowers, L. Standishii and L. fragrantissima are to be recommended. Honeysuckles with very decorative fruits are L. Morrowii, L. tatarica, L. gracilipes,. alpigena, L. trichosantha, L. Maackii var. podocarpa, L. chrysantha. Nearly evergreen are L. pileata and L. nilida; half-evergreen, L. fragrantissima and L. Standishii. Loniceras thrive in almost any good garden soil, and prefer mostly sunny positions, but L. canadensis, L. nigra, L. Ledebourii, L. nispida and L. Xylosteum grow as well or better in partly shaded situations. Pruning may be done during winter except in the early-flowering species, like L.Standishii, L. fragrantissima, L. gracilipes and L. hispida. The climbing honeysuckles are well adapted for covering walls, arbors and other trelliswork; they have mostly handsome and often sweet-scented flowers, in the hardy L. tragophylla as long as 3 inches, in the tender L. Hilde- brandiana as long as 7 inches, but are somewhat deficient in foliage, with the exception of L. japonica, and liable to become leafless and unsightly at the base, and therefore may be mixed with other climbers, like ampelopsis, akebia, clematis. They perhaps show their beauty to the best advantage when allowed to ramble over shrubs and small trees. Those of the Caprifolium group are mostly hardy North, with the exception of the species of southern Europe and L. his- pidula, while of the Nintoa group L. japonica and L. Henryi are hardy North, at least in a sheltered position; these species make also a very handsome ground-cover, and, like L. Periclymenum, grow well in shade, but the others prefer sunny positions. Propagation is by seeds sown in fall or stratified and by cuttings of ripened wood; also by greenwood cuttings under glass in summer, but the species of the Periclymenum group grow less readily in this way. Most species hybridize very easily and only seeds collected from isolated plants should be used for propagation. L. spinosa var. Alberti is sometimes grafted high on stems of L. tatarica, thus forming a small weeping tree.

L. affinis. Hook. & Arn. Allied to L. japonica. Lvs.ovate, pubescent or glabrous beneath, 2-3 ½ in.: fls. white at first, turning to deep yellow; bracts subulate; very free-flowering. China, Japan.- L. alseuosmoides, Graebn. Allied to I,. Henryi. Branchlets glabrous: lvs. lanceolate or narrow-lanceolate, narrowed at base: fls. slightly over ½ in. long, orange-red. W. China.—L. Altmannii, Regel & Schmalh. (L. tenuiflora, Hegel & Winkl.). Allied to L. hispida. Shrub, to 6 ft.: branchlets pilose: lvs. broadly ovate to ovate- elliptic, pubescent below, ¾ -2 in. long: bracts ovate-lanceolate; corolla 2-lipped, whitish, ½ -3/4 in. long: fr. ovoid, scarlet. Turkestan. Var. pilosiuscula, Rehd. Lvs. only sparingly pilose on both sides. Hardy and handsome in fr.—L. augustiofola. Wall. Allied to L. thibetica. Erect shrub, to 10 ft.: lvs, lanceolate, pubescent below when young, 1-2 in. long: fla. long-peduncled, white, fragrant, with regular 5 lobed limb. Himalayas. F.S. 4, pp. 407,408b. Tender.— L arborea, Boiss. Allied to L. Maackii. Erect shrub or small tree, to 30 ft.: lvs. roundish ovate, pubescent, ¾ -1 ½ in. long.: fls. short- peduncled, 2-lipped, pinkish, small: fr. whitish. Spain. Var. pernica, Rehd. (L. nummularia, Fisch. & Mey. L. nummulariifolia, Jaub & Spach). Lvs. smaller, less pubescent: corolla-tube not gibbous. W. Asia to Afghanistan.—L. arizonica, Rehd. Allied to L. ciliosa: lvs. slender-petioled, 1—1 ¾ in. long: limb of corolla nearly equal; tube slender; style glabrous. Ariz. S.T.S. 1:23. L. biflora, Desf. (L. canescens, Schousb.). Allied to L. japonica. Climbing, grayish tomentose: lvs. ovate, small: fls. in pairs, white, 2-lipped, with slender, long tube, fragrant; bracts subulate. Spain, N. Afr.— L. cerrulescens, Dipp.-L. xylosteoides.—L. canescens, Schousb.-L. biflora.—L. Chamissoi, Bunge. Allied to L. orientalis: lvs.very short-stalked, oval or ovate, glabrous, 1-2 in. long: peduncles ¼ - ½ in. long: fr. red. N. E. Asia.—L. confusa, DC. Closely allied to L. biflora, but fls. and lvs. somewhat larger and ovary glabrous. Japan, China. B.R. 70 (as L. japonica). Gn. 45, p. 307. Has been often confounded with L. japonica, but is easily distinguished by the small subulate bracts.—L. conjugialis, Kellogg. Allied to L. orientalis. Erect shrub: lvs. oval or ovate, pubescent: fls. slender-peduncled, smail, 2-lipped, dark purple: fr. red. Wash, to Calif.—L. decipiens. Hook. f. and Thorms.-L. lanceolata. —L. deflexicalyx, Batalin. Allied to L. trichosantha. Upright shrub, to 15 ft.: lvs. lanceolate, acuminate, pubescent on both sides. 1 1/2-3 in. long: fls. slightly over ½ in.- long: f r. orange-red. W. China. B.M. 8536.—-L. Delavayi, Franch.-L. similis var. Delavayi.—L. depressa, Royle-L. Myrtillus var. depressa.—L. discolor, Lindl. (L. orientalis var. discolor, Clarke). Allied to L. orientalis. Lvs.ovate to ovate-oblong, glaucous and glabrous beneath: peduncles ½ -1 in. long: fls. yellowish white, slightly pinkish. Himalayas. B.R, 33:44.—L. diversifoliaa, Wall.-L. quinquelocularis.—L. Ferdinandii, Franch. Allied to L. iberica. Lvs.ovate to ovate- lanceolate, acuminate, sparingly hairy, 1-2 ¼ in. long, often with stipules: as. short-peduncled, ¾ in. long, yellow, appressed setose outside. N. W. and Cent. China. Var. leycesterioldes, Zabel (var. Beisaneriana, Zabel). Less hairy: Lvs.larger, to 7 in. long: corolla less setose. Only the variety is in cult.—L. floribunda, Boiss. & Buhse. Allied to Korolkovii. Lvs.broadly ovate to elliptic, obtuse: peduncles ½ - 1/3 in., decreasing in length toward the end of the Branchlets; bractlets nearly as long as ovaries. Persia. Not in cult.; the plant cult, under this name is L. Korolkovii.—L. Giraldii, Rehd. Allied to L. Henryi. Climbing: branchlets with fulvous spreading hairs: Lvs.oblong- lanceolate, hairy on both sides, 1 ½ -2 ¼ in long: fls. crowded at the end of the branchlets. ¾ in. long, densely covered with spreading yellowish hairs. W. China. B.M. 8236. R.H. 1907. p. 299.—L. Griftthii, Hook. f. & Thoms. Allied to L. Periclymenum. Lvs.broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, the pair below the infl. nearly suborbicular: whorls of fls. 2-3. each subtended by a cupula. Afghanistan. S.T.S. 1:24.—L. gynochlamydea, Hemsl. Allied to L. pileata. Upright shrub: Lvs.deciduous, lanceolate, acuminate, nearly glabrous, 2-4 in. long: fls. short-peduncled, 2-lipped, 1/3 -1/2 in. long, whitish, flushed pink: fr. red. W. China.— L. heterophylla, Decne. Allied to L. alpigena. Lvs.elliptic to oblong, lanceolate, sometimes irregularly lobed, acuminate, glabrous, 1 ¾ -3 ½ in. long: corolla yellowish white, flushed red: fr. distinct. Afghanistan, Turkestan. Var. Karelinii, Rehd. (L. Karelini, Bunge). Lvs.not lobed, glandular along the midrib: corolla usually glandular outside. Cent. Asia. Only the variety is sometimes cult.; hardy.—L. Karelini, Bunge—L. heterophylla var. Karelinii.—L. Koehneana, Rehd. Allied to L. chrysantha. Lvs.ovate., rhombic-ovate to obovate, acuminate, soft - pubescent beneath, 1-4 in. long: peduncles ½ -l in. long; bractlets connote into pairs, half as long as the pubescent ovary: fr. dark red. W. China. S. T. S. 1:21.— L. lanceolata, Wall. (L. decipiens. Hook. f. & Thoms.). Allied to L. orientalis. Lvs. ovate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, grayish green and pubescent beneath, particularly on the veins, 2-4 in. long: peduncle ½ in. long; braetlets at least half as long as ovaries: r. black, connate only at the base. Himalayas—L. Ieycesterioides,Graebn.-L. Ferdinandii var. leycestcrioides.—L. Maximowiczii, Maxim. Allied to L . orientalis. Shrub, to 6 ft.: lvs. oblong-elliptic: fls. peduncled, purplish violet, 2-lipped, rather small: frs. connate, red. N. E. Asia. Gt. 17:597.— L. micrantha, Dipp.-L. xylosteoides.— L.micranthoides, Zabel (L. nigra x L. tatarica). Similar to the latter: fls. small, reddish white; bractlets half as long or as long as ovary; stamens pubescent: fr. red. Garden origin.—L. microphylla, Willd. Allied to L. tangutica. Erect shrub, to 4 ft.: lvs. oval, about ½ in. long: fls. slender-peduncled, 2-lipped, yellowish white, small: berries connate, orange-red Altai to Himalayas.—L. mucronata, Rehd. Allied to L. fragrantissima. Lvs.broadly oval to obovate, mucronate, ½ -l in long: fls. short-stalked, white, fragrant: frs. connate, red. W. China. S.T.S. 2:122.—L. mupinensis, Rehd. Allied to L. alpigena. Bud-scales upright, lanceolate,persistent: lvs.oblong, acuminate, sparingly pilose beneath: fls. dark purple: frs. distinct, red. W China.—L, myrtilloides, Purpus. Allied to L. syringantha. Lvs. elliptic to oblong-ovate, acute, ½ -1 ½ in. long: peduncles ½ in- long; fls. pinkish white, ½ in. long, fragrant: frs. connate, red. Origin unknown.—L. Myrtillus, Hook. & Thoms. (L. parvifolia var. Myrtillus, Clarke). Allied to L. syringantha. Lvs.oval, obovate or oblong, ¼ -1 in. long: fls. short-stalked; bracts narrow-oblong; corolla tubular-campanulate, 1/3 in. long, yellowish white: fr. red, connate. Himalayas. S.T.S. 1:44. Var. depressa, Rehd. (L. depressa, Royle. L. parviflora, Hook, f. & Thoms.). Fls. slender-stalked; bracts broader, usually oval.—L. nepalensis, Kirchn. - L. xylosteoides.—L. nervosa, Maxim. Allied to L. orientalis. Shrub, to 10 ft., with slender dark purple branchlets: lvs.ovate, with purple veins, 1-2 in. long: fls. small,pink, long-peduncled, 2-lipped: fr. black, connate only at base. China. Hardy, graceful shrub.—L. nigra. Linn. Allied to the preceding species. Shrub, to 5 ft.: lvs.elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate 1 ½ -2 ½ in. long; fls. slender-peduncled, pink, small: fr. black. Mountains of Cent. Eu. H.W. 3, p. 128. — L. nummularia, Fisch. & Mey., and L. nummulariifolia, Jaub. & Spach-L. arborea var. persica. — L, obovata, Royle. Allied to L. tangutica. Lvs. very small, obovate: fls. small, yellowish white, gibbous, short-stalked: frs. connate, bluish black. Himalayas. — L. Otgae, Regel & Schmalh. Allied to L. hispida. Lvs.ovate to lanceolate, acute, ½ - 2 ½ in. long: fls. short- stalked, upright, 2-lipped, over ½ in. long: fr. bright red, distinct. Turkestan. — L. parvifolia. Hook. f. & Thoms.-L. Myrtillus var. depressa. — L. persica, Jaub. & Spach- L. arborea var. persica. — L. propinqua, Zabel (L. alpigcna x L.Ledebourii). An interesting hybrid, in one form more like the first, in the other more like the second parent. Of garden origin. — L. prostrata, Rehd. Allied to L. trichosantha. Prostrate shrub: lvs. oval or ovate, acute, ½ -l in. long- fls. small: fr. bright red. W. China. — L. purpurascens, Walp. Allied to L. tangutica. Branchlets pubescent: lvs. oval to oblong, pubescent, ¾ -1 ¾ in. long: fls. tubular-funnelform, dull purple, airy, over ½ in. long, gibbous: fr. bluish black. Himalayas, Afghanistan. — L. pyrenaica, Linn. Allied to L. canadensis. Glabrous: lvs.cuneate-oblong: fls. slender-peduncled, tubular-cam- panulate, regularly 5-lobed, white, ¾ in. long: frs. red, distinct. Pyrenees Mts. B.M. 7774. — L. quinquelocularis, Hardw. (L. diversifolia. Wall,). Allied to L. Maackii. Lvs.ovate or elliptic to oblong-ovate, narrowed or rounded at base, pubescent, 1 ¼ -2 ¾ in. long: fls. short-stalked; corolla ¾ in. long, with slender tube, pale yellow: fr. white. Himalayas, Afghanistan. H.I. 9:807. Var. translucens, Zabel (L. translucens, Carr. L. diversifolia, Dipp. ), Lvs. rounded or subcordate at base: tube gibbous, much shorter than limb. B.R. 30:33. — L. ramosissima, Franch. & Sav. Allied to L. tangutica. Lvs.oval to ovate, pubescent, ½ -l in.: fls. long- pedunclcd, yellowish: bractlets connate, as long as ovaries: fr. scarlet. Japan. Very handsome in fr. — L. retusa, Franch. Allied to L. orientalis. About 6 ft. high: lvs.obovate or broadly ovate, bluish white beneath: fls. in pairs, white, becoming yellowish: fr. shining black. W. China. S. T. S. 2:123.— L. rubicola. Hook. f. & Thoms. Allied to L. thibetica. Lvs.ovate to oblong, obtuse or acutish, dull bluish green above, glabrous or pubescent beneath, ½ -l in.long: fls. pubescent outside, pale purple. Himalayas. — L. saccata, Rehd. Allied to L. tangutica. Lvs.elliptic-oblong to oblong, obtusish, pubescent beneath, ¼ -2 in. long: fls. long-peduncled; bracts narrow-oblong, leafy: tube gibbous at base. Cent, and W.China. R.T.S. 1:20. — L. segreziensis. Lav. Similar to L. Xyloseteum: lvs.more pubescent, dark bluish green: fls. short-peduncled, yellowish : f r. dark red. Of garden origin. Supposed to be a hybrid of L. quinquelocularis and L. Xylosteum. — L. similis, Hemal Allied to L. japonica. Plant pilose: Lvs.ovate-oblong to lanceolate, ciliate, white-tomentose below, l ¾ -3 ½ in. long: fls. slender peduncled, 2 in. long, white; bracts subulate. Cent, and W. China. Var. Delavayi, Rehd. (L. Delavayi, Franch.). Glabrous, but lvs.tomentose beneath and sometimes slightly ciliate. Only this variety is in cult. — L. splendida, Boiss. Allied to L. implexa and L. etrusca: glabrous, glaucous: fls. in a many-fld., sessile head, yellowish white, tinged purple. Spain. F.S. 11:1130. Gt. 39, p. 65. — L. strophiophora, Franch. Allied to L. hispida. Winter-buds with several scales: lvs.short-stalked, ovate, sparingly hirsute 2-3 ½ in. long: fls. funnelform, white, nearly ¾ in. long, with the lvs. fr. red, distinct. Japan. — L. subaequalis, Rehd. Allied to L. ciliosa. Lvs. elliptic to obovate-oblong, glabrous, 2-5 in. long: fls. funnelform with nearly regular limb; usually only 1 sessile whorl. W. China. — L. tenuiflora, Regel A Winkl.-L. Altmannii. — L. tomentella, Hook. f. & Thoms. Allied to L. thibetica. Erect shrub, to 12 ft.: Lvs.small, ovate to oblong, pubescent: fls. short-peduncled, nodding, small, regular, white: fr. connate, black. Himalayas. B.M. 6486. Tender. — L. translticens, Hort.-L. quinquelocularis. — L. Tschonoskii, Maxim. Allied to L. orientalis. Lvs.elliptic- oblong, acute at both ends, quite glabrous 2-4 in. long: fls. long- stalked, pinkish; bractlets connate, about half as long as ovaries: fr. nearly distinct, red. Japan. — L. utahtnsis, Wata. Closely related to L. canadensis. Lvs.broadly ovate to oblong, obtuse, not ciliate: corolla smaller, less gibbous. Brit. Col. to Ore., Utah, Wyo. — L. Vidalii, Franch. & Sav. Allied to L. alpigena. Lvs.ovate or elliptic, abruptly acuminate, pubescent. 1 ½ -3 in. long: fls. lilac, on glandular peduncles about ½ in. long; bractlets connate, one-half or three-fourths as high as ovaries: fr. red, partly connate. — L. Vilmorinii, Rehd. A garden hybrid between L. deflexicalyx and L. quinquelocularis — L. Webbiana, Wall. Allied to L. alpigena. Lvs.larger, acuminate, pubescent: fls. paler; ovaries separate. Himalayas. S.T.S. 1 : 69. — L. xylosteoides, Tausch. (L. tatarica x L. xylosteum. L. micrantha, Dipp., not Regel. L. caerulescens. Dipp. L. nepalensis, Kirchn.). Lvs.usually rhombic-ovate, broadly cuneate at base, bluish green, slightly pubescent: corolla small, pinkish: fr. red. Garden origin.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Lonicera xylosteum (Fly Honeysuckle) is a common homeopathic remedy, used for asthma, breathing difficulties and syphilis. Lonicera periclymenum (European honeysuckle) is an uncommon homeopathic remedy, used for irritability with violent outbursts.

Lonicera japonica and Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle) are considered invasive weeds in the United States and in New Zealand. Honeysuckle can be controlled by cutting, flaming, or burning the plant to root level and repeating on two-week increments until nutrient reserves in the roots are depleted. Honeysuckle can also be controlled through annual applications of glyphosate, or through grubbing if high labor and soil destruction are not of concern.

Honeysuckles are also eaten by children, who remove the blossom by hand to suck at the sweet nectar in the center.


Pests and diseases


Selected species:

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