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21 May 2011

Lonicera (Honeysuckle)

Lonicera (Honeysuckle) is currently in flower in Tunis and the air is heavily scented.  Perhaps, one day in the future they will be able to introduce the concept of scent to blog posts to accompany the photographs.  Now, wouldn't that be great?  In the meantime, you will have to take my word that the Lonicera smells absolutely wonderful.





"Honeysuckles (Lonicera, Caprifolium Mill.) are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China; 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, 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. Breaking of the Honeysuckle's stem will release this powerful sweet odor. 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.



The name Lonicera stems from Adam Lonicer, a Renaissance botanist.

Several species of Lonicera 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, and L. tatarica."
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