|1. A flowering branch, 2. A fruiting branch, 3. Longitudinal section of a flower, 4. Fruit cut horizontally.|
See text - selected species
Honeysuckles (Lonicera, //; syn. Caprifolium Mill.) are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. Approximately 180 species of honeysuckle have been identified. About 100 of these species can be found in China and approximately 20 native species have been identified in Europe, 20 in India, and 20 in North America. Widely known species include Lonicera periclymenum (common honeysuckle or woodbine), Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle, white honeysuckle, or Chinese honeysuckle) and Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle, trumpet honeysuckle, or woodbine honeysuckle). In North America hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers on some of these plants, especially L. sempervirens and L. ciliosa (orange honeysuckle). Honeysuckle derives its name from the edible sweet nectar obtainable from its tubular flowers. The name Lonicera stems from Adam Lonicer, a Renaissance botanist.
Some species are highly fragrant. Several are cultivated as ornamental garden plants, with numerous cultivars available.
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.
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, L. tatarica, and the hybrid between the last two, L. × bella.
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. Cultivars of the dense, small-leaved L. nitida are used as low, narrow hedges.
Other cultivars are dealt with under their species names.
Phytochemicals and sensory effects
Honeysuckle is renowned for its colorful, fragrant flowers and variously colored fruit, indicating the presence of complex phytochemicals underlying these properties. Component analyses of berries from 27 different cultivars and 3 genotypes of edible honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica) showed the presence of iridoids, anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, and phenolic acids. While sugars determine the level of sweetness in the berries, organic acids and polyphenols are responsible for the sour taste and tartness. Some 51 of the same compounds in berries are found in flowers, although the proportions of these compounds varied among cultivars studied.
Interaction with other species
Many insects in the order Lepidoptera visit honeysuckles as a food source. An example of this is the moth Deilephila elpenor. This nocturnal species of moth is primarily attracted to honeysuckles, and they visit the flowers at night to feed on their nectar.
Some 180 species of Lonicera are documented:
Lonicera albiflora (white honeysuckle)
Lonicera alpigena (alpine honeysuckle)
Lonicera arizonica (Arizona honeysuckle)
Lonicera × bella (Bell's honeysuckle)
Lonicera caerulea (blue-berried honeysuckle)
Lonicera canadensis (American fly honeysuckle)
Lonicera caprifolium (goat-leaf honeysuckle, perfoliate honeysuckle. Type species)
Lonicera chrysantha (Chrysantha honeysuckle)
Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle)
Lonicera conjugialis (purpleflower honeysuckle)
Lonicera dasystyla (Tonkinese honeysuckle)
Lonicera dioica - (limber honeysuckle)
Lonicera etrusca (Etruscan honeysuckle)
Lonicera flava (yellow honeysuckle)
Lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle)
Lonicera × heckrottii (Golden flame honeysuckle)
Lonicera hellenica (Greek honeysuckle)
Lonicera hildebrandiana (giant Burmese honeysuckle)
Lonicera hirsuta (hairy honeysuckle)
Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle)
Lonicera interrupta (Chaparral honeysuckle)
Lonicera involucrata (bearberry honeysuckle)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Lonicera korolkowii (blueleaf honeysuckle)
Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Lonicera nigra (black-berried honeysuckle)
Lonicera nitida (boxleaf honeysuckle)
Lonicera oblongifolia (swamp fly honeysuckle)
Lonicera periclymenum (honeysuckle, woodbine)
Lonicera pileata (privet honeysuckle)
Lonicera pilosa (Mexican honeysuckle)
Lonicera reticulata (grape honeysuckle)
Lonicera ruprechtiana (Manchurian honeysuckle)
Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)
Lonicera splendida (evergreen honeysuckle)
Lonicera standishii (Standish's honeysuckle)
Lonicera subspicata (southern honeysuckle)
Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian honeysuckle)
Lonicera utahensis (Utah honeysuckle)
Lonicera villosa (mountain fly honeysuckle)
Lonicera xylosteum (fly woodbine)
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- "GRIN Species Records of Lonicera". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
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- Flora of China: Lonicera species list
- . . 1914.