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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 173. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/4/2009)


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1. Lonicera L. (honeysuckle)

Plants shrubs or lianas. First-year twigs 1–2 mm thick, the pith solid or hollow. Winter buds more or less ovoid to conical, with 2 to several overlapping scales. Leaves sessile or with short, unwinged petioles, the uppermost leaves sometimes strongly perfoliate (fused at the base to form a single blade surrounding the stem). Stipules absent. Leaf blades simple, unlobed or in L. japonica the first leaves of the season sometimes irregularly lobed, elliptic to ovate, oblong, or oblanceolate, the margins entire. Flowers in pairs in the leaf axils, or in 1–4 whorls terminal on the branches, or in L. purpurea in 1 or 2 sessile pairs from buds on second-year branches, the individual flowers usually subtended by small, paired bractlets, the inflorescences subtended by bracts. Corollas 13–48 mm long, actinomorphic and narrowly tubular-funnelform or zygomorphic with spreading to recurved lobes, sometimes the lobes similar in size and sometimes shape but positioned zygomorphically, white, pink, yellow, orange, or red. Style 8–50 mm long. Fruits berries, more or less spherical (oblong-ellipsoid in L. purpusii), red, black, or rarely yellow at maturity. Seeds few, 2.5–6.0 mm long, oblong-ovate to oblong-elliptic in outline, sometimes irregularly so, often somewhat flattened, one or both sides sometimes slightly angled or with a pair of shallow longitudinal grooves, the surface smooth or more commonly with a minute network of low ridges, reddish brown to dark brown. About 180 species, North America, Europe, Asia.

Honeysuckles have long been very popular in horticulture, and numerous species and cultivars exist in cultivation. The plants are easy to grow, tolerant of difficult conditions, and their flowers are attractive and (in many species) fragrant. The berries attract birds in the autumn. However, some exotic species of Lonicera are very invasive in natural plant communities, and the genus includes two of the worst invasive exotics in Missouri, L. japonica and L. maackii.

In Missouri, two escaped taxa of shrubby honeysuckles exist that arose through past interspecific hybridization, but whose parents do not occur in the state. Because these fertile hybrids are not easily related to any of the other species in the state, they are accorded full treatments below.


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1 1. Plants shrubs 1.5–4.0 m tall, the main stems erect or ascending, not twining; flowers in pairs in the leaf axils; corollas white or pink (often changing to cream-colored or yellow after pollination); fruits red, rarely yellow

2 2. Twigs with solid white pith; flowers sessile from buds produced on previous years wood (second-year portions of branches); paired ovaries fused for about 1/2 of their length ... 6. L. PURPUSII

Lonicera × purpusii
3 2. Twigs with hollow pith; flowers in the axils of leaves on current years growth (first-year wood); paired ovaries separate

4 3. Leaf blades tapered at the tip; stalk below the paired flowers 2–5(–8) mm long, the fruits appearing sessile or nearly so ... 5. L. MAACKII

Lonicera maackii
5 3. Leaves rounded or broadly angled to a bluntly or sharply pointed tip, sometimes tapered abruptly to a minute, sharp point; stalk below the paired flowers 5–19 mm long, the fruits appearing noticeably stalked at maturity ... 1. L. BELLA

Lonicera × bella
6 1. Plants lianas, the main stems twining around adjacent trees or shrubs or trailing on the ground

7 4. Flowers in pairs in the leaf axils; leaves never fused; corollas white, becoming cream-colored or yellow after pollination; fruits black ... 4. L. JAPONICA

Lonicera japonica
8 4. Flowers clustered in 1–4 whorls at the branch tips, usually with 1 or 2 pairs of leaves below the inflorescence strongly perfoliate (fused at the base to form a single blade surrounding the stem); corollas pale yellow to orange, red, or purplish-tinged, not changing color after pollination; fruits red

9 5. Corollas 38–48 mm long, divided less than 1/5 of the way to the base into more or less similar ascending lobes, bright red or orangish red ... 8. L. SEMPERVIRENS

Lonicera sempervirens
10 5. Corollas 15–35 mm long, strongly 2-lipped, divided 1/3–1/2 of the way to the base into spreading to recurved lobes, pale yellow to orange or pink

11 6. Perfoliate upper leaves 1.0–1.5 times as long as wide, the upper surface usually strongly glaucous in patches near the center; flowers in usually 2–4 whorls; corollas cream-colored or pale yellow, not pinkish-tinged ... 7. L. RETICULATA

Lonicera reticulata
12 6. Perfoliate upper leaves 1.2–2.2 times as long as wide, the upper surface green; flowers in 1 or 2 whorls; corollas yellow or orange, sometimes pinkish-tinged

13 7. Corollas white to lemon yellow and pinkish-tinged, the base of the tube weakly swollen or pouched on one side; undersurface of the leaves very strongly glaucous, often almost white ... 2. L. DIOICA

Lonicera dioica
14 7. Corollas bright yellow to orange, the base of the tube slender, symmetrical, not pouched; undersurface of the leaves only weakly glaucous, pale green ... 3. L. FLAVA Lonicera flava
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