This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Erect prostrate or climbing shrubs with opposite simple entire or lobed deciduous or persistent leaves and cymose or capitate often fragrant flowers sometimes adhering together by the ovaries in pairs. Calyx-limb of five often unequal teeth. Corolla tubular or bell-shaped, gibbous at the base in some species, with the limb oblique or 2-lipped. Stamens 5. Fruit a fleshy 2- or 3-celled berry. There are upwards of eighty species in the temperate and warm regions of the North. This genus was named in honour of the German botanist Lonicer. There is great confusion in the nomenclature of the Japanese and Chinese Honeysuckles, arising probably from the fact that many of them are garden varieties.
1. L. Periclymenum. Honeysuckle or Woodbine. - This favourite indigenous shrub is surpassed by none of the exotic species in the profusion and fragrance of its flowers, but for brilliancy of colouring there are many superior. Flower-heads terminal, peduncled ; upper leaves sessile; berry crimson.
There are several improved varieties, including the Dutch,
L. Belgica, the Oak-leaved,
L. quercifolia, and Late Red,
L. serotina, and one with variegated foliage of little merit.
2. L. Caprifolium (fig. 115), syn. Caprifolium Italicum. - This species strongly resembles the preceding in the colour of its flowers, but the flower-head is sessile and the upper leaves connate. A native of the South of Europe.
3. L. Etrusca. - Flowers orange-yellow, capitate; heads pedunculate. Upper leaves connate, young ones hairy beneath. A native of the South of Europe, flowering in May, though not so freely as some.
Fig. 115. Lonicera Caprifolium. (1/2 nat. size.)
Fig. 116. Lonicera sempervirens. (1/2 nat. size.)
4. L. sempervirens (fig. 116). Evergreen or Trumpet Honey-suckle. - This in its different varieties is one of the handsomest species in cultivation, bearing its scarlet inodorous flowers in great profusion for a considerable period in Summer. The leaves are quite glabrous, oblong or rotundate, glaucous beneath, and persistent during the greater part of the Winter. The variety named Brownii, in which the flowers are of a brighter hue, is one of the best. It is a native of North America.
L. coccinea and L. pubescens are allied species from the same country.
5. L. brachypoda. - One of the best evergreen species. Leaves oval or oblong, glabrous and shining, with short hairy petioles. Flowers medium size, in pairs, pale yellow, and very sweet-scented. There is a handsome and very desirable variety, named aureo-reticulata, in which the foliage is beautifully netted or variegated with yellow, with a mixture of red towards Autumn. This is undoubtedly one of the most elegant variegated plants in cultivation, and like many others of its class a native of Japan. L. Japonica, or L. Chinensis, is a form of this species with more or less hairy leaves.
7. L. Xylosteum. - An erect species with small ovate or obo-vate hairy leaves and hairy yellow small flowers in axillary pairs. There are varieties with white, yellow, crimson, and black berries. A native of Europe, introduced in some parts of this country. L. Tatdrica is an allied species with rosy-pink flowers in the common form and yellow or white in the varieties.
8. L. fragrantissima. - This species is desirable as an early-flowering plant. It puts forth its pure white highly odoriferous flowers in February before the leaves are developed. L. Standishii, very near the preceding, has purple and white scented flowers. Both are natives of China.