Honeysuckle

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Honeysuckle

©northeastwildlife.co.uk

Honeysuckle

Scientific name: Lonicera periclymenum
A true wildlife 'hotel', Honeysuckle is a climbing plant that caters for all kinds of wildlife: it provides nectar for insects, prey for bats, nest sites for birds and food for small mammals.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 5m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

February to November

About

The sweet, heady scent of Honeysuckle, carried on a warm summer breeze, is one of the most delightful experiences of the season. Strongest at night, in order to attract pollinating moths, this scent is a happy addition to any garden. Honeysuckle is a climbing plant, common in hedgerows, scrub and woodlands, where it twines itself around other shrubs and trees. Whorls of trumpet-shaped flowers appear from June to August and clusters of red berries ripen in the autumn.

How to identify

Honeysuckle has climbing, twining stems that are red when young; they climb clockwise around the branches and stems of other plants, sometimes distorting them. Its grey-green, oval leaves appear from February and stay on the plant until autumn, or even over winter. In summer, white or yellow, red-flushed, tubular flowers appear in clusters; red berries ripen in autumn.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Honeysuckle is a true wildlife 'hotel': its nectar-rich, scented flowers attract moths like the impressive Elephant Hawk-moth which are, in turn, preyed upon by bats; new shoots attract blackfly which bring hungry Blue Tits, lacewings and ladybirds; its climbing stems provide nest sites and material for birds, such as Blackbirds and Pied Flycatchers, and small mammals like Dormice; and its juicy red berries are eaten by everyone from Song Thrushes to squirrels.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.