References: Honeysuckle

Table of Contents

RED: It is spring. You can smell the honeysuckle.

The Basics

hsuckle.jpgHoneysuckles are arching shrubs or twining vines, 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.

The leaves are 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 blackberry containing several seeds; in most species the berries are mildly poisonous, but a few have edible berries.

Cultivation and uses

Fly Honeysuckle is a common homeopathic remedy, used for asthma, breathing difficulties and syphilis. 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.

Amur Honeysuckle or Bush 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. Honeysuckles are also eaten by some people, who remove the blossom by hand to suck at the sweet nectar in the center. They pull the inside out and suck on the blossom.

Another name for honeysuckle is woodbine; and eglantine is used in Milton’s L’Allegro.

Honeysuckle – a symbol of love- devoted love – said to protect your garden from evil. It is known as the ‘love bind’ – symbolizing a lover’s embrace in its clinging growing habits. The heady fragrance of the flowers was believed to induce dreams of love and passion. If the bloom is brought into the house a wedding is said to follow within the year. The honeysuckle’s berries are poisonous. Also a symbol of generosity.

…how sweetly smells the honeysuckle
in the hush’d night…’
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1859

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