Lonicera dioica (Wild Honeysuckle)
|Also known as:||Limber Honeysuckle, Red Honeysuckle, Glaucous Honeysuckle|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; dry to moist; woods, thickets, rocky slopes, outcrops|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||5 to 10 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single cluster, occasionally 2, at the tips of 1-year-old branches, a cluster consisting of 1 to 5 whorls each with 6 stalkless flowers. Flower color is typically deep red to maroon, sometimes yellow and sometimes becoming yellow with age. Flowers are ½ to 1 inch long, with a long, slender tube and 2 lips, the upper broad with 4 lobes and the lower narrow and about as long as the tube. Outer surface is hairless, inner surface is hairy, especially in the throat. Protruding from the tube are 5 hairy stamens with pale tips and a long, slender, hairy style with a dome-shaped stigma at the tip.
At the base of the floral tube is a small hump, and between the flower and cluster stalk is the egg-shaped, green ovary. The cluster stalk is green and hairless. The leaf pair just below the flower are joined at the base, sometimes forming a cup around the cluster, the leaf pair typically oval-elliptic, the tips pointed, or rounded but with a tiny, sharp point (mucronate).
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are opposite, 1½ to 3½ inches long, 1 to 2½ inches wide, somewhat variable in shape, from lance-elliptic to egg-shaped to widest above the middle (obovate), rounded to blunt at the tip, and mostly rounded at the base. Edges are toothless, hairless and often a bit wavy. The upper surface is hairless, the lower a paler blue-green color and typically short-hairy but may be hairless. Besides the leaf pair at the tip of a flowering branch, the next 1 or 2 pairs below that may also be joined around the stem (perfoliate). Otherwise, leaves are stalkless or short stalked; stalks may be hairy.
Of the 3 vining honeysuckles in Minnesota, this is the most common, found throughout the state except in a few south and western counties. It is most likely to be confused with Hairy Honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta), which has proportionately broader leaves with a fringe of spreading hairs around the edge, hairs on both surfaces, glandular-hairy first-year twigs, and flowers that are more typically yellow. 2 varieties of L. dioica have been recorded in Minnesota: var. dioica with virtually hairless leaves is uncommon, and var. glaucescens with hairs on leaf undersides is found everywhere.
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- Wild Honeysuckle plants
- old, twining stem
- Wild Honeysuckle plants
- Wild Honeysuckle with yellow flowers
- sprawling and climbing Wild Honeysuckle
- uppermost leaf pair forming a cup around the flowers; note the blue-green color
- variation of uppermost leaves
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?