This month we are highlighting HONEYSUCKLE! Honeysuckle is named for the edible sweet nectar in the tubular flowers.
LATIN: Lonicera. native and non-native
ENVIRONMENT: Moist, well-drained soil. Part shade (roots in shade, stems in sun). Zone 3-6.
DESCRIPTION: 6-20+’ tall shrub with smooth, hollow stem. Bark of mature honeysuckle is striped tan or gray. 1-2 1/2” long ovate leaf, arranged opposite which appear February-winter (one of first to leaf and last to defoliate. White turning yellowish, paired tubular flowers w/ strong, sweet smell. Red berries in summer/fall. Non-native stem is hollow and pithy. Native stem is less hollow, more solid.
WILDLIFE: Attracts butterflies and moths. Birds eat the berries (berries of non-native are not nutritionally appropriate).
MEDICINAL: Source of antioxidants; used for many ailments including indigestion, memory and arthritis relief with NO EVIDENCE that it works.
CULINARY: Infused into beverages, syrups. Flowers are nice in salads and desserts.
CONTROL: Pull small/medium plants in spring before seeds are dispersed. Dispose of as they may reroot if left on ground or create a shelter pile above ground within trees. Prescribed fire and prescribed fire + goat graze works well.
FUN FACTS: Symbolic of true happiness, romantic love, good fortune, nostalgia.
UNFUN FACT: Non-natives are invasive and therefore detrimental in many ways to the woodland ecosystem.