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Lonicera hirsuta

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Lonicera pubescens
Description

Hairy honeysuckle is a native vine in the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family and as the common name indicates, it is the hairiest of the honeysuckle vines. Found trailing in woodlands and thickets particularly along borders, clearings, and banks; often in sandy or rocky ground, and occasionally in swamps. The genus name Lonicera is named after Adam Lonitzer, a German botanist, herbalist, and physicist, and the species name hirsutus means hairy or rough in Latin.  

It is primarily a northern honeysuckle that flourishes in colder regions and higher elevations, particularly on calcareous (high pH) bedrock.

It grows quickly to 3 to 16 feet in length with hairy opposite leaves and tubular yellow flowers that bloom from early to mid-summer.  Nectar from the flowers attract pollinators and small mammals and the high sugar content fruits are enjoyed by birds.  

It is non-invasive and is considered to be endangered in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Quick ID Features:

  • Hairy stems, leaves, and petioles.  
  • Leaf margins are hairy (ciliate)
  • Small, hairy, tubular yellow flowers  with prominate stamens and style.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#deciduous shrub#shade garden#orange flowers#tubular flowers#spring flowers#fall interest#showy fruits#small mammals#moist soil#bumblebees#well-drained soil#climbing vines#neutral ph#summer flowers#thickets#mountains#northern climate#hairy leaves#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#native wildflower#flowers mid-summer#flowers early summer#sandy soils tolerant#rocky soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#vine#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#deciduous shrub#shade garden#orange flowers#tubular flowers#spring flowers#fall interest#showy fruits#small mammals#moist soil#bumblebees#well-drained soil#climbing vines#neutral ph#summer flowers#thickets#mountains#northern climate#hairy leaves#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#native wildflower#flowers mid-summer#flowers early summer#sandy soils tolerant#rocky soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#vine#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lonicera
    Species:
    hirsuta
    Family:
    Caprifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    New England and eastern New York to southern Ontario, Minnesota, and Manitoba
    Wildlife Value:
    The sweet taste (high sugar content) and relatively low position to the ground attract non-migratory birds and small mammals. They produce fruit late in the season after most migratory birds have left the area. The flowers are of special value to bumblebees.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 16 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Round to oval orange-red berry 1/3 to ½ inch long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Clusters consist of 1 to 5 whorls each, with 6 stalkless flowers which may be yellow, sometimes orange to red and are ½ to 1 inch long. Each flower has a long, slender tube and 2 lips, the upper broad with 4 lobes and the lower narrow and shorter than the tube, both lobes often tightly rolled under with prominate stamens and style. The outer surface is finely glandular-hairy, the inner surface is also hairy making the flower sticky to the touch.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite, elliptic to oval, entire margins, short or non-existant petioils, blades are 2"-5" long 1 1/2-3" wide. Leaf pair below a flower cluster is joined around the stem, forming a disk around the cluster. The pair below it on the stem may also be perfoliate. Although the margins are entire, they can be fringed with hair or cilia. The leaves are dark-green above and lighter beneath and pubescent on both surfaces.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    Twigs become gray-brown and hairless the second year. Older bark is gray and peels off in thin sheets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth, woody green stem with glandular-villous hairs that can take root when they touch soil.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds