Limber Honeysuckle

Illustration of limber honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Scientific Name
Lonicera dioica
Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckles)

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.

Blooms April–June.

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.

Other Common Names
Wild Honeysuckle
Red Honeysuckle

Vine length: to 13 feet.

Where To Find
image of Limber Honeysuckle Wild Honeysuckle Red Honeysuckle distribution map

Uncommon and widely scattered in the state.

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.

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Similar Species
About Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in Missouri
There are no sharp dividing lines between trees, shrubs, and woody vines, or even between woody and nonwoody plants. “Wood” is a type of tissue made of cellulose and lignin that many plants develop as they mature — whether they are “woody” or not. Trees are woody plants over 13 feet tall with a single trunk. Shrubs are less than 13 feet tall, with multiple stems. Vines require support or else sprawl over the ground.