Limber honeysuckle is a woody, loosely twining vine that sprawls or climbs on nearby vegetation.
Flowers are stalkless, in clusters at the branch tips; the corolla (the fused, tubelike petals) divided ⅓ or ½ of the way to the base into 2 lips of equal length that curl back; the upper lip shallowly 4-lobed, the lower lip with 1 lobe; the tube weakly swollen or pouched on the lower side near the base; white to lemon yellow, tinged with red, purple, or pink, not changing color after pollination.
Leaves opposite, simple, upper pair just below the flowers united to form a disk that is longer than broad, upper surface green or barely whitened; leaves below the disk not united; lower surface covered with a white waxy coating, smooth or hairy.
Fruits berries, orangish-red to red.
Vine length: to 13 feet.
Uncommon and widely scattered in the state.
Habitat and Conservation
Bases and ledges of bluffs, upland forests, rocky banks of streams and rivers, rarely also along fence rows and thickets.
Beautiful, fragrant flowers, attractiveness to hummingbirds, and hardiness make honeysuckles popular in landscaping. Two of our worst invasive plants are introduced exotic honeysuckles, but this native species is not one of them. It does well as a trellis vine in the native landscape garden.
The deep, tubular flowers provide nectar to pollinators able to reach inside. Hummingbirds have long, pointy bills and extendable tongues for this purpose. Several species of birds and mammals eat honeysuckle fruits in the fall. Deer browse the stems and leaves.