This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This aromatic, sweet-flowered climber is found in Europe, in recent beds, not earlier, and N. Africa, its distribution being confined to the North Temperate Zone of to-day. It is found in every part of Great Britain, ascending to 1500 feet in Durham.
Honeysuckle is a well-known, woodland, climbing plant, which loves the darkest depths of the forest, wood, or copse, seeking support from a neighbouring sapling or older tree, or clambering up the over-hanging" branches of hawthorn, blackthorn, or other forms of under-growth. By the roadside, too, it nestles amidst briers and thorns, casting around a rich fragrant odour for the passer-by, and attracting the long - tongued moths at night.
The climbing habit of this plant is one of its principal features. It twines round and round the stems of thick or thin, strong or supple trees and other plants, often forming an arbour when climbing and scrambling irregularly in the hedgerow. The leaves are not united at the base, and are deciduous or fall in autumn; when old, shiny and dark green, rather light when young, and hairy. The leaves are egg-shaped, oblong, stalkless above, and shortly stalked below. They are bluish-white beneath.
The flowers are cream-colour, gaping, in terminal whorls on long flower-stalks, and are reddish in colour outside. The calyx-teeth do not fall, the corolla is glandular and smoothly downy. The berries are red when ripe.
Honeysuckle may be as much as 20 ft. in length. Its flowers are in bloom from May to July. It is a deciduous shrub, and can be multiplied by cuttings.
The stigma and the anthers are mature together. It is like L. Caprifolium in flower but the tube is shorter, in this it is 22-25 mm. In L. Caprifolium the tube is 30 mm. long, 1-2 mm. wide, a large part being occupied by the style, but it is often half-full of honey. Honey is accessible (being at the surface or in a cup at the bottom of the tube), when collected, to many bees, e.g. Bombus kortorum, but bees are only accidental visitors. The pollination is crepuscular, i.e. effected principally by nocturnal moths.
The flowers, at first erect, open first at 7 p.m. and give off a strong scent. Soon after they turn down and become horizontal. At first the stamens project in front, and the stigma is turned down beyond the anthers. Later, after insect visits, the pollen is exhausted, the stamens turn down and the stigma rises in their place. Thus an insect would on the first night become covered with pollen, and on the second touch the stigma. Meantime the tube becomes arched and the under and upper lip roll up, and the flower turns yellow, a feature noticeable in Forget-me-not, etc. The white flowers with pollen are visited first, later the yellow. Still later the flower becomes darker orange, rolls up and loses its scent. There is abundant pollen, but humble bees cannot obtain the honey.
Honeysuckle is pollinated by Hawk-moths, Convolvulus Hawk moth (Sphinx convolvuli), Privet Hawk-moth (S. ligustri), S. pinastri, Elephant Hawk-moth [Deilephila elpenor), Small Elephant Hawk-moth (D.porcellus), Lime Hawk-moth (Smerinthus tilice), Shark (Dianthoecia capsincola), Lychnis (Cucullia umbratica), Silver Y (Plusia gamma), Puss Moth (Dasychira pudibunda). When no insects visit the flower it may be self-pollinated.
Photo. B. Hanley - Honeysuckle (lonicera Periclymenum, L.)
The fruit is edible and the seeds are dispersed by animals, chiefly birds, e.g. the Blackbird and Thrush.
Honeysuckle is strictly sylvan in habitat, and is found where humus abounds on various soils, being prevalent on clay soils or a sandy loam, and is practically a clay-loving plant.
Upon the leaves one finds Aecidium periclymeni and Microsphoera lonicera, and it is galled by Siphocoryne xylostei.
A beetle, Orchestes lonicerce, and various Lepidoptera, White Admiral (Limenitis sibylla), Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Sesia fuci-formis), Silver Y (Plusia iota), Boarmia repandata, Alucita polydactyla, and many others, and a fly, Chromatomyia obscurella, frequent Honeysuckle.
Lonicera, Linnaeus, is from a botanist, Lonicer, and Periclymenum, Dioscorides, was the Greek name of honeysuckle or a similar shrub. Honeysuckle is from the A.S. hunigsuge, which was, however, applied to the privet.
Honeysuckle is called Bearbind, Benewith Tree, Benwytre, Bind, Bindweed, Bindwood, Binnwood, Bynde, Caprifole, Cernoyle, Chervell, Eglantine, Goat's Leaves, Goat-tree, Hinnisickle, Honey bind, Honeysuckle, Honeysuck, Irish Vine, Lady's Fingers, Lily-among-thorns, Mel-silvestre', Ood bine, Servoile, Suckle-bush, Suckling, Sycamine, Trumpet Flower, Widbin, Woodbine, Woodbind.
Widbin is Scotch for Woodbine.
" The rown-tree in (and) the widd-bin Hand the witches on cum in."
Chervell is a contraction of chevre feuille, an old French name for it, and Goat-tree is a translation of it, so also is Goat leaves.
In one version of the story of Tristan and Ysonde we have: "From his grave there grew an eglantine which twined about the statue, a marvel for all men to see, and though three times they cut it down, it grew again and ever wound its arms about the image of fair Ysonde."
Consumptive patients were passed three times " through a circular wreath of woodbine, cut during the increase of the March moon, and let down over the body from head to foot".
Honeysuckle is grown in the garden, and utilized as a climber and for its sweet scent.
Essential Specific Characters: 139. Lonicera Periclymenum, L. - Stem climbing, twining, woody, leaves ovate, all distinct, upper sessile, flowers cream and red, ringent, in terminal head, berries crimson, juicy.