AskDefine | Define honeysuckle

Dictionary Definition



1 shrub or vine of the genus Lonicera
2 shrubby tree with silky foliage and spikes of cylindrical yellow nectarous flowers [syn: Australian honeysuckle, coast banksia, Banksia integrifolia]
3 columbine of eastern North America having long-spurred red flowers [syn: meeting house, Aquilegia canadensis]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • italbrac RP /ˈhʌnɪsʌk(ə)l/
  • italbrac US /ˈhʌniːsʌkəl/


  1. Any of the many species of arching shrubs and climbing vines of the genus Lonicera in the Caprifoliaceae family, many with sweet smelling, bell shaped flowers.


Extensive Definition

Honeysuckles (Lonicera; syn. Caprifolium Mill.) are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, with by far the greatest diversity in China, where over 100 species occur; by comparison, Europe and North America have only about 20 native species each. Widely known species include Lonicera periclymenum (European Honeysuckle or Woodbine), Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle, White Honeysuckle, or Chinese Honeysuckle) and Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle, or Woodbine Honeysuckle). Hummingbirds are attracted to these plants.
The leaves are opposite, simple oval, and from 1–10 cm long; most are deciduous but some are evergreen. Many of the species have sweetly-scented, bell-shaped flowers that produce a sweet, edible nectar. Breaking of the Honeysuckle's stem will release this powerful sweet odor. The fruit is a red, blue or black berry containing several seeds; in most species the berries are mildly poisonous, but a few (notably Lonicera caerulea) have edible berries. The plant is eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on honeysuckles.

Cultivation and uses

Wood cuttings from the species Lonicera tartarica, native to Eurasia, are sold as cat toys. The wood contains nepetalactone, which is the active ingredient found in catnip. Many breeds of cats react to the scent of the wood and will paw, lick or rub against it.
Honeysuckles grow best in partial sun to partial shade.
Lonicera japonica and Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle or Bush Honeysuckle) are considered invasive weeds in the United States and in New Zealand. Honeysuckle can be controlled by cutting, flaming, or burning the plant to root level and repeating on two-week increments until nutrient reserves in the roots are depleted. Honeysuckle can also be controlled through annual applications of glyphosate, or thorough grubbing if high labor and soil destruction are not of concern.
Honeysuckles are also eaten by some people, who remove the blossom by hand to suck at the sweet nectar in the center. They pull the inside out and suck on the blossom.
Cordage made from honeysuckle was used in the construction of Seahenge.
Honeysuckle flowers can be used to flavor wine, syrup, sorbet, and other sweet dishes. Bill Smith's honeysuckle sorbet is a seasonal delicacy at Crooks Corner Restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Another name for honeysuckle is woodbine; and eglantine is used in Milton's L'Allegro.

Selected species

Honeysuckle in popular culture

  • In the book The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, the smell of honeysuckle is mentioned often to imply sexual activity on the part of the character Caddy.
  • Honeysuckle is mentioned in Joe Bonamassa's song Mountain Time.
  • Honeysuckle Vines are mentioned in Jimmy Buffett's song "Tin Cup Chalice."
  • Honeysuckle is mentioned in Sammy Kershaw's song "Don't Go Near The Water."
  • Honeysuckle is mentioned as Mrs Dietrich's (Barbara Stanwyck's) perfume in "Double Indemnity."
  • The British actress Honeysuckle Weeks was named after the honeysuckle flowers, which were in bloom at the time of her birth.
  • In the video game series .hack//G.U., Haseo receives a weapon called the Lit Honeysuckle.
  • In Japan, a honeysuckle represents "devoted affection," commonly referring to young fated lovers.
  • La Maison de Lola has a character named Ms Honeysuckle
  • In the 2005 Disney film, Sky High, honeysuckle is shown as a decoration in the character Layla's locker.
  • In August Strindberg's play, Miss Julie, the valet Jean mentions to the eponymous heroine that honeysuckles grew over the Turkish Pavilion which he saw in her fathers garden when he was a boy.
  • Honeysuckle Rose is a 1935 solo piano jazz tune by Fats Waller and a 1980 Willie Nelson film.
  • The heavy metal band Lamb of God mentions honeysuckle in their song "In Defense of our Good Name"
  • Honeysuckle is mentioned in Robert Frost's poem "To Earthward," as well as the O.A.R. song "Earthward" which quotes the poem.
honeysuckle in Danish: Gedeblad
honeysuckle in German: Heckenkirschen
honeysuckle in Spanish: Lonicera
honeysuckle in Esperanto: Lonicero
honeysuckle in French: Chèvrefeuille
honeysuckle in Italian: Lonicera
honeysuckle in Dutch: Kamperfoelie
honeysuckle in Russian: Жимолость
honeysuckle in Simple English: Honeysuckle
honeysuckle in Finnish: Kuusamat
honeysuckle in Swedish: Kaprifol
honeysuckle in Turkish: Hanımeli
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