Northern Ontario Plant Database
Lonicera hirsuta Eaton
En: hairy honeysuckle
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)
General: A perennial, trailing or climbing, deciduous vine to 3 m long. Young stems green to purplish, glandular-hairy; older stems brown or grayish, woody, with shredding bark.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, pinnately-veined, sessile or short petiolate. Leaf blades broadly elliptic to ovate, 5–13 cm long, 2.5–9 cm wide; upper surface dark green, dull, coarse-textured and slightly hairy; lower surface paler and hairy; leaf base rounded or tapering (cuneate), upper 1–2 leaves fused at their bases (connate-perfoliate); apex blunt (obtuse) to pointed (acute); margins entire and fringed with hairs (ciliate).
Flowers: Bisexual, several in a terminal stalked cluster (short spike), subtended by a pair of rounded bracts, fused at the base (connate-perfoliate) and with abruptly pointed tips. Calyx minute; corolla tubular, yellow to orange, to 2.5 cm long; with 5 oblong lobes, 3 fused into an upper lip, 2 fused into a lower lip; stamens 5, attached to the inside of the corolla; the single pistil with an inferior ovary. Flowers bloom in early summer.
Fruit: A cluster of ovoid, smooth, orange to red, sessile berries; subtended by a pair of saucer-shaped (convex), connate-perfoliate bracts. Fruits mature in late summer to autumn.
Habitat and Range: A variety of dry to moist habitats, including rocky woods, slopes, thickets, mixedwood forests and clearings, and often along calcareous shores. The hairy honeysuckle is native to north-central North America. In Ontario, it occurs as far north as the mouth of the Moose River, James Bay (Soper & Heimburger 1982).
Internet Images: The Lonicera hirsuta webpage from Wisconsin State Herbarium's Vascular Plant Species Database.
The Lonicera hirsuta webpage from Andy Fyon's Northern Ontario Wildflowers website.
Similar Species: The only other climbing honeysuckle in Ontario is Lonicera dioica, the glaucous or twining honeysuckle, which has smooth (glabrous) leaves. The lower leaf surfaces and herbaceous stems usually have a waxy, bluish (glaucous) coating, but some plants have leaves with a hairy lower surface. Blades of the upper 1-4 pairs of opposite leaves range from triangular-ovate to narrowly elliptic with fused (connate-perfoliate) bases; lower leaves have short petioles; apices are blunt (obtuse) to rounded; margins are entire and smooth, not ciliate. Compare Lonicera hirsuta to the Lonicera dioica webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.
Lonicera chart I: Native climbing or trailing vines with a terminal cluster of flowers and fruits
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