HONEYSUCKLE





(Lonicera Caprifoliuin; L. grata of Gray) Honeysuckle family



Flowers - White within, the tube pinkish, soon fading yellow, 1

to 1 1/2 in. long, very fragrant; borne in terminal whorls seated

in the united pair of upper leaves. Calyx small, 5-toothed;

corolla slender, tubular, 2-lipped; upper lip 4-lobed; lower lip

narrow, curved downward; 5 stamens and 1 style far protruding.

Stem: Climbing high, smooth. Leaves: Upper pairs united around

the stem into an oval disk or shallow cup; lower leaves opposite,

but not united oval, entire. Fruit: Red berries, clustered.

Preferred Habitat - Thickets, wayside hedges, rocky woodlands.

Flowering Season - May-June.

Distribution - New England and Michigan to the Southern States.



"Escaped from cultivation and naturalized." How does it happen

that this vine, a native of Europe, is now so common in the

Eastern United States as to be called the American woodbine? Had

Columbus been a botanist and wandered about our continent in

search of flowers, he would have found very few that were

familiar to him at home, except such as were common both to

Europe and Asia also. Where the Aleutian Islands jut far out into

the Pacific, and the strongest of ocean currents flows our way,

must once have been a substantial highroad for beasts, birds, and

vegetables, if not for men as well; but in the wide, briny

Atlantic no European seed could live long enough to germinate

after drifting across to our shores, if, indeed, it ever reached

here. Once the American colonies came to be peopled, with

homesick Europeans, who sent home for everything portable they

had loved there, enormous numbers of trees, shrubs, plants, and

seeds were respectably carried across in ships; the seeds of

others stole a passage, as they do this day, among the hay used

in packing. This was the chance for expansion they had been

waiting for for ages. While many cultivated species found it

practically impossible to escape from the vigilance of gardeners

here, others, with a better plan for disseminating seed, quickly

ran wild. Now some of the commonest plants we have are of

European origin. This honeysuckle, by bearing red berries to

attract migrating birds in autumn, soon escaped the confines of

gardens. Its undigested seeds, dropped in the woodland far from

the parent vine, germinated quite as readily as in Europe, and

pursued in peace their natural mode of existence, until here too

we now have banks



"Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine."



The HAIRY HONEYSUCKLE, or ROUGH WOODBINE (L. hirsuta), with a

more northerly and westerly range, bears clusters of flowers that

are yellow on the outside, and orange within the tube, the

terminal clusters slightly elevated above a united pair of dull

green leaves that are softly hairy underneath. The slender flower

tube is sticky outside to protect it from pilfering ants, and the

hairs at the base of the stamens serve to hide the nectar from

unbidden guests. Berries, bright orange. Flowering season,

June-July.



The deliciously fragrant CHINESE or JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE (L.

Japonica), as commonly grown on garden trellises and fences here

as the morning-glory, has freely escaped from cultivation from

New York southward to West Virginia and North Carolina. Everyone

must be familiar with the pairs of slender, tubular, two-lipped,

white or pinkish flowers, quickly turning yellow, which are borne

in the leaf axils along the sprays. The smooth, dark green,

opposite leaves, pale beneath, cling almost the entire year

through. The stem, in winding, follows the course taken by the

hands of a clock. Were the berries red instead of black, they

would, doubtless, have attracted more birds to disperse their

seeds, and the vine would have traveled as fast in its wild state

as the Italian honeysuckle has done. It blooms from June to

August, and sparingly again in autumn.

When daylight begins to fade, these long, slender-tubed buds

expand to welcome their chosen benefactors, the sphinx moths,

wooing them with fragrance so especially strong and sweet at this

time that, long after dark, guests may be guided from afar by it

alone, and entertaining them with copious draughts of deeply

hidden nectar, which their long tongues alone may drain. Poised

above the blossoms, they sip without pause of their whirring

wings, and it is not strange that many people mistake them in the

half light for hummingbirds. Indeed, they are often called

hummingbird moths. Darting away suddenly and swift as thought,

they have also earned the name of hawk moths. Because the

caterpillars have a curious trick of raising the fore part of

their bodies and remaining motionless so long (like an Egyptian

sphinx), the commoner name seems most appropriate. A sphinx moth

at rest curls up its exceedingly long tongue like .a watch-

spring: in action only the hummingbird can penetrate to such

depths; hence that honeysuckle which prefers to woo the tiny

bird, whose decided preference is for red, is the TRUMPET or

CORAL HONEYSUCKLE; whereas the other twiners developed deep,

tubular flowers that are white or yellow, so that the moths may

see them in the dark, when red blossoms are engulfed in the

prevailing blackness. Moreover, the latter bloom at a season when

the crepuscular and nocturnal moths are most abundant. Rough

rounded pollen grains, carried on the hairs and scales on the

under side of the moth's body from his head to his abdomen,

including antennae, tongue, legs, and wings, cannot but be rubbed

off on the protruding sticky stigma of the next honeysuckle tube

entered; hence cross-fertilization is regularly effected by moths

alone. The next day such interlopers as bees, flies, butterflies,

and even the outwitted hummingbird, may take whatever nectar or

pollen remains. If the previous evening has been calm and fine,

they will find little or none; but if the night has been wild and

stormy, keeping the moths under cover, the tubes will brim with

sweets. After fertilization the corolla turns yellow to let

visitors know the mutual benefit association has gone out of

business.





HOLYHERB, ENCHANTER'S PLANT, JUNO'S TEARS, PIGEONGRASS, HORSEBALM CITRONELLA RICHWEED STONEROOT HORSEWEED facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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