Now in the hilly woods, there on the north slope where the banks of moss are bright green and a ledge of sandstone is always moist from a perpetual drip coming out of the hillside, the pale flowers of glaucous honeysuckle bloom.
Lonicera prolifera (Kirchn.) Rehd.
May - June Hilly woods.
The vines are tangled and festooned over a bush, over the ground, over the ledges. The lower parts of the vines are woody, the new growth pale green and tender, there in the shady woods, with oval, blue-green, smooth leaves in clasping pairs. Often the lowermost leaves do not clasp, but the majority of them appear to be one leaf with the stem piercing the center - perfoliate leaves. Several of the wild honeysuckles have this characteristic, the glaucous honeysuckle perhaps most noticeable of all.
In this species the topmost leaves have merged and appear as one circular disk, from the center of which springs a thin, pale stalk on which are the long narrow buds. These open as pale yellow, tubular flowers with curling petals and protruding stamens. As each flower grows older, it darkens in color to a dull orange hue before it falls away from the stem.
At last all the flowers have fallen and in their place is a stalk of growing green fruits which, later in the season, turn scarlet and juicy, and then are eaten by robins.
The glaucous honeysuckle and coral honeysuckle (Lonicera semper-virens) are the two common native members of this family to be found in Illinois woods.
Two foreign honeysuckles have made their homes in Illinois. In the southern part of the state the twining stems and yellow flowers of the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), cover many roadside fences.