Diervilla lonicera (Bush Honeysuckle)
|Also known as:||Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle, Northern Honeysuckle,|
|Family:||Diervillaceae (Bush Honeysuckle)|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; average to dry sandy or rocky soil; woods, woodland edges, clearings, thickets, bluffs, along railroads|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Clusters of 2 to 7 short-stalked flowers at the tips of 1-year-old branches and arising from leaf axils near the branch tips. Flowers are funnel-shaped, ½ to ¾ inch long, hairy on the inner surface especially inside the tube, and with 5 narrow, spreading lobes, one of which typically is somewhat larger and has a darker coloring than the rest. In the center are 5 densely hairy stamens with yellow tips and a long, slender, green style with a dome-shaped stigma at the tip.
Flower color is initially pale yellow or even greenish yellow, becoming orange to red with age. The 5 sepals surrounding the base of the flower are narrowly triangular and about as long as the floral tube. The ovary sits between the stalk and flower.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 2 to 5 inches long, 1 to 2¾ inches wide, lance-elliptic to egg-shaped with a rounded or tapered base, a long taper to the pointed tip, and a short stalk. Edges are finely toothed and finely hairy, surfaces are mostly hairless except sometimes along the midvein. The upper surface is dark green, the lower paler, and leaves may be tinged a bronzy color across the surface or around the edges, especially when young.
The persistent sepals spread out as fruit develops, capping the fruit forming below. Fruit is a 2-valved capsule 1/3 to ½ inch long, green to brown, oblong-elliptic to narrowly egg-shaped. Plants are self-sterile, requiring pollination from a different plant that is not a clone.
Formerly in the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) family, this species gets its “honeysuckle” common name and lonicera species epithet from the shape of its flowers, which resemble those of true honeysuckles (Lonicera species), but that's where the similarities end. Bush Honeysuckle has serrated leaves and the fruit is a capsule, where true honeysuckles have toothless leaves and berries for fruit.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Bush Honeysuckle plants
- Bush Honeysuckle plants
- bronzy leaves emerging in spring
- more flowers, and bronze-tinged leaves
Photos by K. Chayka taken in a private garden in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in northeastern Minnesota.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?