Lonicera fragrantissima

Approaching an old, long-abandoned homestead, on an old, long abandoned road, we come upon a living, breathing remnant of that homestead’s legacy. This is a verge of L. fragrantissima, Chinese honeysuckle as I first learned it. Also called winter honeysuckle or fragrant honeysuckle. And for good reason. It flowers in the dead of winter, amidst the snow and ice and freezing temperatures. Maybe starting in February. It’s fragrance is indeed a “harbinger of spring” (in the words of the Missouri Botanical Garden).

10182017 lonicera 1

In full sun, the branches are long and sprawling, and it can reach 15 feet. Here, in the dappled shade, this hedge is about 7 feet high, more compact.

10182017 lonicera 2

Right now in October, the newish leaves look glossy and tender.

10182017 lonicera 3

This may be the same species. This particular individual is shorter in height, with the leaves looking a bit more brittle and hoary. Red berries in the background are indicative of L. fragrantissima. They are edible, slightly sweet with some astringency. Stay tuned for more photos in winter.

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