There are hundreds of species of Honeysuckle. Magenta, pink, or whitish with some yellow, sweat-scented, the tubular corollas set in dense round, oval, or egg-shaped heads about and inch long and seated in a sparingly hairy calyx. They are common throughout the United States and Canada found in fields, meadows and roadsides.
The honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) includes shrubs and vines variously called honeysuckle. Japanese and Tartarian honeysuckles are invasive – and trumpet and woodbine honeysuckles are cultivated. The Japanese honeysuckle was introduced from Japan and China around 1875 through 1897. The Tartarian honeysuckle comes from Russia and was imported to the US during the 18th century.
The Japanese honeysuckle was very popular in urban parks in the 1950’s through the 1970’s. It was during the 1960’s that the USDA Soil Conservation Service got the word out to landscapers that they should plant honeysuckle to control erosion. Wildlife managers in the eastern US would plant the vines for a food source to birds. Forestry departments in the eastern US promoted honeysuckle, had it planted in public places, detailed it in wildlife literature and made it available at state horticulture sales.
In the 1980’s, ecologists realized the Japanese honeysuckle was invasive. Its vines can over-take, weigh down and eventually destroy livestock containment fences. Japanese Honeysuckle is hard to eradicate.
Trumpet honeysuckle is very beneficial. It’s grown for the bright red blooms which will draw in humming birds. Woodbine honeysuckle has fragrant, orange-red blooms and is popular in eastern gardens. It’s unlikely it will invade the wild because of its susceptibility to scale insect infestation.
The Honeysuckle mostly is admired for its beauty and fragrance. The flowers produce a sweat, edible nectar. They attract humming birds and butterflies. They have such an alluring and enticing fragrance when you break the stem. Honeysuckle oil is a popular scent and is said to symbolize a bond of love and devoted love. It has been extracted and made into soaps, candles, perfumes and creams.