Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coral Honeysuckle - Our Native Beauty

Most people around where I live don't even realize that the common honeysuckle you see on every roadside is actually an invasive non-native plant.  Those yellow fragrant honeysuckles are actually Japanese honeysuckle that have taken over in many places.  The native variety is lonicera sempervirens ("Coral honeysuckle") that you will see pictured below.  Our native variety is not as fragrant as the Japanese honeysuckle, but it makes up for this by being more beautiful and far more attractive to the hummingbirds, butterflies, and song birds.  The tubular, red flowers are probably the favorite food of ruby throated hummingbirds.  Later, the red berries attract many song birds.  The plant is evergreen in mild winters and will come back after colder winters.  This first picture shows the neat clusters of bloom that are so pretty.

As you can see in this next picture, my plant is growing up our mailbox. 

I've seen specimens of this plant that get large and make a beautiful clump on a fence or trellis.  Plant one of these and the hummingbirds will forever thank you.

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