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Vines can turn heads

Posted by Garden Delights on

Almost everyone knows about Japanese honeysuckle. It is loved by kids who drink the flower nectar. Somewhere down the line the love for these sweet flowers grows into hatred as adults due to the rapid growth and the overtaking nature of the honeysuckle.

Japanese Honeysuckle presents itself in vine form and shrub form. The form seen most is the vine that will grow on tree trunks or weaving itself on through another bush.

After its transfer from Asia, it has thrived and has spread quickly. You can find the honeysuckle almost anywhere but mostly along wooded areas, streams, and fields. You can even find them along roads and in gardens.

Japanese Honeysuckle can be recognized by its three-inch, oval, green leaves. Its leaves grow in pair, each on opposite sides of the stem. It may also have hairy twigs.

They have a pleasant smell reasons Japanese honeysuckle is so well known. The flowers start off white and darken to a bright yellow as it ages. Not unlike the leaves, the flowers are also paired, and they can grow to be 1 and one-half inches long. The sweet nectar attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, bumblebees, and other insects. In return for the nectar, those that feed on the flower also help the pollination by taking pollen to other flowers.

The transfer of pollen helps ensure the plants survival as it helps to create seed-filled fruits that in turn yields new plants.

Fruits of the honeysuckle plant are about one-fourth inch, small, black berries. The many birds eat the berries also help with the continuation of the honeysuckle. After digestion, they expel the seeds allowing new plants to grow in new locations. Deer also will feed upon the plant.

Japanese Honeysuckle climbs quickly and the more it ages, and the thicker the stem becomes making it hard to break and very strong.

The honeysuckle vine has been known almost to overtake a tree by scaling its heights and hiding the tree with its own stems and leaves. It is possible for the vine to overrun the tree so much that the tree can not absorb sunlight or nutrients from the ground resulting in the death of the tree. In this instance, honeysuckle is considered a parasite. Trees and smaller plants alike can both succumb to the honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle has also become home for many small animals because of its widespread cover and protection. They include, but not limited to, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Cottontail, squirrels, American Toad, lizards, frogs, and numerous insects. Deer also frequently bed down in honeysuckle.

Japanese Honeysuckle flower from April to July.

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