Honeysuckle

HoneysuckleHoneysuckle — Honeysuckles 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 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 these plants.

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 that feed on honeysuckles.

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.

Wood cuttings from the species Lonicera tartarica, native to Eurasia, are sold as cat toys. The wood contains nepetalactone, which is the active ingredient found in catnip. Many breeds of cats react to the scent of the wood and will paw, lick or rub against it.

Honeysuckles grow best in partial sun to partial shade.

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