HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera periclymenum)




Our native Honeysuckle, with its fragrant, creamy YELLOW flowers, spills over the walls of front gardens in this  neighbourhood. When the season favours Lonicera periclymenum, every Honeysuckle is a mass of blooms inviting passersby to come closer & breathe in their perfume. Flowers appear from May/June to August, followed by red berries in autumn. These turn black & are available for the birds.




Bees’ Favourite.

Honeysuckle is wildlife-friendly; its nectar attracts bumblebees & night-flying moths. Bumblebees whose tongues are too short may resort to biting a hole in the base of the flower tube to reach the nectar. Moths visiting the flowers include Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Privet Hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Lime Hawk-moth, Shark, Lychnis, Silver Y & Puss Moth. When no insects visit the flower it may be self-pollinated.

The RHS & The Wildlife TrustsWild About the Garden website has a list of the 30 best plants for all bumblebees, whatever the length of their tongues. Honeysuckle is among the top 30.



Historical, Medicinal

Gerard says: ‘The Honeysuckle is “neither cold nor binding, but hot and attenuating or making thin”‘. He quotes Dioscorides as saying that: The ripe seed gathered and dried in theshadow and drunk for four days together, doth waste and consume away the hardness of the spleen and removeth wearisomeness, helpeth the shortness and difficulty of breathing, cureth the hicket (hiccough) etc. A syrup made of the flowers is good to be drunk against diseases of the lungs and spleen.’   He also recommends it for sores in the alimentary canal.    ( Gerard, 1545-1612. )

The herbage of the true Honeysuckles is a favourite food of goats, hence the Latin name Caprifolium (Goats’ Leaf), the French (Chevre-feuille), German (Geisblatt), and Italian (Capri-foglio), all signifying the same. The berries have been used as food for chickens…

Our native Honeysuckle has expectorant and laxative qualities. The flowers in the form of syrup have been used for diseases of the respiratory organs and in asthma and the leaves as decoction in diseases of the liver and spleen.” It was also considered a good ingredient in gargles.    Maud Grieve, A Modern Herbal, 1931.




Lonicera Periclymenum Rhubarb and Custard with squirrel

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ with squirrel


Used as an antiseptic, Lonicera periclymenum ‘ in small doses, is a useful addition to cough mixtures.’


 It was believed that if honeysuckle grew around the entrance to a house it prevented a witch from entering. If it grows well in your garden, then you will be protected from evil

Honeysuckle two

Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum, closeup of flowers

Small snail, rose arch remains and curved stem of honeysuckle

Honeysuckle foliage

'Hedge' of Honeysuckle, Clematis, Ivy and Russian Vine over garden fence

‘Hedge’ of Honeysuckle, other climbers over garden fence


The black berries of Honeysuckle are highly toxic. The leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. Flowers & flower buds are used in various infusions & tinctures to treat coughs, catarrh, asthma, headaches & food poisoning. The leaves & flowers are rich in salicylic acid & are used to relieve headaches, colds, flu, fever, aches, pains, arthritis and rheumatism.

Other names: Capri-foglio (Italian), Chevre-feuille (French), Dutch Honeysuckle, Evening Pride, Geisblatt (German), Irish vine, Fairy trumpets, Goat’s Leaf, Gramophone Horns, Kettle Smocks, Lamps of Scent, Honeybind, Sweet suckle and Trumpet flowers.

silentowl: Folklore of the Hedgerow Part Ten


The Woodbine Public House P1030386.JPG

The Woodbine Public House, Blackstock Road

WOODBINE public house sign



The native Honeysuckle, also known as Woodbine, is enjoyed in the countryside now as it has been for centuries:

‘Oh how sweete and pleasant is Woodbinde, in Woodes or Arbours, after a tender soft rayne, and how friendly doth this herbe if I may so name it, imbrace the bodies, armes, and braunches of trees wyth his long winding stalkes and tender leaves, opening or spreading forth his sweete Lillies, like ladies fingers, among the thornes or bushes.’

Bulwarke of defence against all sicknesse, soareness, and woundes that doe dayly assault mankinde, gathered and practised by William Bullein, Doctor of Physicke, 1562, London.


Lesley Gordon, Ebury Press, Webb & Bower Ltd, Exeter.