Bush Honeysuckle – Flowers

Gravel-weed

(Diervilla Diervilla) Honeysuckle family

(D. trifida of Gray)

Flowers—Yellow, small, fragrant, 1 to 5 (usually 3) together on a peduncle from upper leaf-axils. Calyx tube slender, elongated ; corolla narrowly funnel-form, about / in. long, its 5 lobes spreading, 3 of them somewhat united ; 5 stamens ; 1 pistil projecting. Stem: A smooth, branching shrub 2 to 4 ft. high. Leaves : Opposite, oval, did taper-pointed, finely saw-edged. Fruit: Slender, beaked pods crowned with the 5 calyx lobes.

Preferred Habitat—Dry or rocky soil, woodlands, hills.

Flowering Season—May—August.

Distribution—British Possessions southward to Michigan and North Carolina.

The coral honeysuckle determined to woo the hummingbird by wearing his favorite color ; the twining white and yellow honey-suckles of our porches chose for their benefactors the sphinx moths, attracting them by delicious fragrance and deeply hidden nectar in slender tubes that are visible even in the dark ; whereas the small-flowered bush honeysuckles still cater to the bees which, in all probability, once sufficed for the entire family. For them a conspicuous landing place has been provided in the more highly colored lower lobe of this flower, from which the visitor cannot fail to find the pocket full of nectar that swells the base of the tube ; but when he alights, pollen laden from another blossom, he must pay toll by leaving some of the vitalizing dust on the projecting stigma before he feasts and dusts himself afresh. After they have been plundered, and consequently fertilized, all the honeysuckles change color, this one taking on a deeper yellow to let the bees know the larder is empty, that they may waste no precious time, but confine their visits where they are needed. ” Many flowers adapted to bees show butterflies, hawk moths and humming-birds as intruders,” says Professor Robertson ; “and this is important, since it enables us to understand how bee-flowers might become modified to suit them “—just as certain of the honeysuckles have done. Once the Oriental pink weigelias, grown in nearly every American garden, were thought to belong to the Diervilla clan, from which later-day systematists have banished them.

The Early Fly or Twin Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliata), found in moist, cool woods from Pennsylvania and Michigan far north-ward, sends forth pairs of funnel-form, honey-yellow flowers, about three-quarters of an inch long, with five, regular lobes, on a slender footstalk from the leaf axils in May. It is a straggling, shrubby bush from three to five feet tall. The opposite leaves are thin, oval, bright green on both sides, the edges hairy Two little ovoid, light red berries follow the flowers.

Another species, a shrubby Swamp Fly-honeysuckle (L. oblongifolia), found in wet ground and bogs throughout a similar range, blooming about two weeks later, coats the under side of its young leaves with fine hairs to prevent their pores from clogging with vapors arising from its moist retreats. The little pale yellow flowers, also growing in pairs on a footstalk from the leaf axils, have their tubular corollas strongly cleft into two lips. Reddish markings within serve as pathfinders for the bumblebee, who finds so much nectar at the base that a tiny bulging pocket had to be provided to hold it. Sometimes the two flowers join below like Siamese twins, in which case the pair of crimson berries become more or less united.

“So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted.”

One occasionally finds the pink and white twin-flowered Tartarian Bush Honeysuckle (L. Tartarica) escaped from cultivation in the Eastern States through the agency of birds which feast upon its little round, red, translucent berries.