limber honeysuckle

(Lonicera dioica)

Conservation Status
limber honeysuckle
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Limber honeysuckle is a perennial vine or semi-erect shrub. It usually climbs over adjacent vegetation or sprawls on the ground. Occasionally, it forms a mound of arching stems.

The stems are climbing, sprawling, or semi-erect and arching. They are round, up to ¾ in diameter, and can be 3 to 9 long but are usually 5 to 6½ long. First-year branches are greenish, hairless, and usually covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous). Second-year branches are gray or brown. The bark of mature stems is gray or brown with long, fibrous, shredded, peeling strips. The buds are egg-shaped and pointed. The leaf scars are thin and crescent-shaped with 3 vascular bundle scars.

The leaves are opposite and variable in shape; oblong, elliptic, or inversely egg-shaped. The larger leaves are 2 to 3½ long, and 1¼ to 2¾ wide. They are rounded or blunt at the tip and tapered or rounded at the base. They may be stalkless or on leaf stalks up to long. The upper surface of the leaf blade is dark green and hairless. The lower surface is bluish or whitish, glaucous, and is usually moderately to densely hairy, occasionally hairless. The margins are untoothed, often wavy, and do not have a fringe of long hairs.

On flowering stems the uppermost pair of leaves is fused together at the base into a single disk-like leaf. The tip of each fused leaf is tapered to a point or is rounded and has a tiny, short, sharp, abrupt point. The upper surface is green and is not glaucous.

The inflorescence is 1 to 3 whorls of 6 stalkless flowers per whorl on a single spike (rarely 3 spikes) at the end of the stem. The whorls are not separated and the flowers are crowded.

The flowers are to 1 long and are strongly symmetrical, so that a plane dividing the flower in two would produce one side that is a mirror image of the other. There are 5 petals fused at the base into a corolla tube then separated to ½ of the way to the base into 2 lips. The upper lip is divided into 4 shallow lobes, the lower lip is undivided. The petals are purple, red, or, rarely, yellow tinged with purple or red. There are 5 stamens with yellow anthers and a style with a light green, head-like stigma. The stamens and style protrude well beyond the corolla tube. The flowers appear on last season’s stems after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-May to early June. In Minnesota they are pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbird and bumble bees.

The fruit is a soft, globular, 5 16 to ½ in diameter berry. It is green initially, becoming orange, ultimately red or orange-red when ripe. They do not fall but remain on the plant until picked off by birds or they dry on the plant. It matures in late June to early August.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

Vine: 3 to 9 long

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Purplish

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Grape honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata) leaves are nearly circular. The upper 2 or 3 pairs of leaves are fused at the base into single disk-like leaves. The upper surface of the fused leaves is often glaucous and bluish. The flower whorls are normally separated from one another. The flowers are pale yellow. In Minnesota it is found only in the southeast.

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) leaves are narrowly elliptic. The upper leaf surface is velvety-hairy. The leaf margins have a fringe of long hairs. The flowers are yellow.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist. Forest edges and clearings, thickets, lakeshores, river banks. Partial or full sun.

Limber honeysuckle is found in exposed areas where its red or purple flowers can be seen by hummingbirds and its brightly colored red or orange-red fruit can be seen by fruit-eating birds.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

Mid-May to early June

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

 

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.

 
  8/1/2022      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common but not abundant

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Dipsacales (honeysuckles, moschatels, and allies)  
 

Family

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)  
  Subfamily Caprifolioideae  
 

Genus

Lonicera (honeysuckles)  
  Subgenus Caprifolium  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Some sources (Gleason & Cronquist, 1991) separate this species into four varieties, two of which occur in Minnesota. Lonicera dioica var. glaucescens, described above, has a moderately to densely hairy lower leaf surface. Lonicera dioica var. dioica has a hairless lower leaf surface. The Minnesota DNR recognizes this separation of varieties. Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri Vol. 2 (Yatskievych, 2006) states that there is a complete intergradation of the distinguishing characteristics and rejects the separation. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) on-line database, http://www.itis.gov, curiously recognizes only the nominate variety, Lonicera dioica var. dioica, treating all other varieties as synonyms of the species Lonicera dioica. Plants of the Worle Online (POWO) recognizes no varieties or subspecies, treating them all as synonyms.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Lonicera dioica var. dasygyna

Lonicera dioica var. douglasii

Lonicera dioica var. glaucescens

Lonicera dioica var. orientalis

Lonicera glaucescens

Lonicera glaucescens var. dasygyna

Lonicera hirsuta var. glaucescens

Lonicera parviflora

Lonicera parviflora var. douglasii

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Douglas’ honeysuckle

glaucous honeysuckle

glaucous-leaved honeysuckle

limber honeysuckle

mountain honeysuckle

red honeysuckle

small honeysuckle

smooth-leaved honeysuckle

twining honeysuckle

wild honeysuckle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 
 
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Vikki Selix

 
    limber honeysuckle   limber honeysuckle  
 

Luciearl

 
    limber honeysuckle      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Plant

 
    limber honeysuckle      
           
 

Leaf

 
    limber honeysuckle      
           
 

Inflorescence

 
    limber honeysuckle      
           
 

Infructescence

 
    limber honeysuckle   limber honeysuckle  

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Lonicera dioica (Red Honeysuckle)
Allen Chartier
  Lonicera dioica (Red Honeysuckle)  

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Limber Honeysuckle Flowers (Lonicera dioica)
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About

Published on Jul 9, 2012

Limber honeysuckle shrubs in bloom in the East Kootenays.

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Vikki Selix
7/30/2022

Location: Brook Park, Pine County

limber honeysuckle  
  Luciearl
5/29/2020

Location: Cass County

limber honeysuckle  
           
 
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