Na­ture di­ary

Win­ter-flow­er­ing honey­suckle

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - OUTDOORS - SYLVIA THOMP­SON

The sweet scent of honey­suckle can give your senses a gen­tle lift

The sweet scent of win­ter-flow­er­ing honey­suckle can give your senses a gen­tle lift at this time of the year. Not many flow­ers are still in bloom so the yel­low/pink­ish tubu­lar flow­ers with their rich fra­grance – of­ten stronger in the evening time – are a spe­cial treat. The flow­ers – which are pol­li­nated by bees and night-fly­ing moths – are fol­lowed by red or black berries. Honey­suckle, also known as wood­bine, is a na­tive climb­ing plant pro­lific in de­cid­u­ous woods and hedgerows around Ire­land. It sur­vives by loop­ing it­self into the branch sys­tem of larger trees and pro­duces leaves early in spring­time be­fore the full leaf canopy in the wood has de­vel­oped. There are about 180 species of honey­suckle through­out the North­ern Hemi­sphere, about 20 of which are na­tive to Europe. It is also cul­ti­vated as a gar­den shrub as it eas­ily grows up walls and on out­build­ings. Sev­eral species of honey­suckle have, how­ever, be­come in­va­sive out­side their na­tive range, par­tic­u­larly in New Zealand and the US.

There are 180 species of honey­suckle through­out the North­ern Hemi­sphere, about 20 of which are na­tive to Europe

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