Common Name: Amur Honeysuckle.
Scientific Name: Lonicera Maackii.
What to look for? The Amur Honeysuckle is a moderately tall and abundantly branched shrub. During the Spring bloom, it is a mass of green (leaves) and white (flowers). The downward bending branches are loaded with green, oval leaves. With no stalk, pairs of nearly sessile flowers develop from the axils of the leaves. Each flower is consists of a tubular corolla with five (5) widely spreading lobes. Initially, the corollas of young flowers are white, but later turning cream-colored. The fragrant flowers are replaced by red berries, which contain several seeds. The red berries are produced in late summer and persist through the winter. The root system is woody and branching. This shrub spreads to new areas by reseeding itself with the help of birds.
Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? As you walk out west along Indian Trail, you will find a colony of Amur Honeysuckle growing along the edges of the forest preserve.
How big are they? The Amur Honeysuckle is typically six (6) feet tall with a similar span across. It can grow to twenty feet tall with a span of ten or more feet across. The oblong leaves are approximately three (3) inches long and one inch across.
Where do they grow and thrive? The Amur Honeysuckle is native to central and eastern Asia. This invasive plant was introduced into Illinois and other Midwestern states in the 1950’s and is now rampant across much of the Eastern United States. The preferred habitats are woodlands, savannas, thickets, and woodland edges.
When do they bloom? The blooming period of the Amur Honeysuckle occurs in late spring, lasting about 2-3 weeks.
Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The nectar of the Amur Honeysuckle flowers attracts bumblebees and other long-tongued bees, Hummingbird Clearwing moths, other Sphinx abundantly branched moths, and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. The foliage is eaten by a variety of caterpillars. The bright red berries are eaten by some songbirds, including American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Red-Winged Blackbird, and Common Grackles. This helps to spread the seeds into new areas. Because of its abundant branches and tendency to develop leaves early in the spring, many songbirds use Amur Honeysuckle as a source of protective cover and as a nesting site. White-Tailed Deer occasionally browse on the leaves and twigs.
Interesting Facts About the Amur Honeysuckle:
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states.
Oops! Planted in rural areas where it was recommended for wildlife until its invasive traits became apparent.
Genus name ‘Lonicera’ honors a German botanist and the specific epithet ‘Maackii’ honors a Russian naturalist.
For more information on the Amur Honeysuckle and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Michigan State University Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.
The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!