Etruscan honeysuckle

Lonicera etrusca

عسلة توسكانية

By Franz Xaver - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0Link

Status: Common

Lonicera etrusca This plant species is a perennial, deciduous climber plant from the botanical family Caprifoliaceae.

Lonicera etrusca is known by its English name Etruscan honeysuckle. Etruscan honeysuckle is native to Europe (mainly South) and to the Mediterranean region, but considered an introduced species in northwest of North America, on the Pacific coast and in the Madeira and Azores islands, since it has escaped cultivation. In Western Asia, this species is commonly spread in Palestine and wider area, in Mediterranean shrublands, woodlands, steppes, roadsides and forest habitats.

Etruscan honeysuckle stems are woody and much branched, with twining vines that can reach up to 6 meters height, climbing and wining over a substrate used as a support. It has oval leaves that are opposite and entire, and the inflorescences are dense terminal spikes of flowers with pairs of fused leaves at the bases. The fragrant flowers are yellow or violet coloured, each flower showing an elongated tubular corolla up to 5 centimetres, strongly divided into two lips, with the upper lip divided into 4 lobes. The stamens and style protrude markedly from the corolla´s opening mouth. Etruscan honeysuckle fruits are bright red rounded berries and mildly poisonous.

This plant is blooming from April to July in more moderate temperatures and from April to May, in western Asia.

Due to its beauty, etruscan honeysuckle is an important ornamental plant in gardens and parks. Interestingly, some varieties of this plant species, including the cultivars 'Donald Waterer' and 'Superba' have received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Additionally, etruscan honeysuckle is attractive to long tongued bees, butterflies and to birds, especially hummingbirds.