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Common Honeysuckle

Lonicera periclymenum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
6 metres long
Cliffs, fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, hedgerows, meadows, mountains, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, scrub, sea cliffs, seaside, towns, walls, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 2 petals
Honeysuckle flowers, observed in the UK, are renowned for their charming and graceful appearance. The blooms typically feature tubular-shaped petals that unfurl into pairs, forming clusters or whorls along the vines. These flowers often exhibit a creamy or pale hue, tinged with shades of pink, yellow, or white, creating a delicate and elegant palette. The petals of UK Honeysuckle flowers are known for their soft, subtle texture, and they often possess a slightly waxy surface. The tubular shape of the flowers contributes to their unique design, allowing them to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies with ease. As the flowers open, they release a sweet and inviting fragrance, enhancing their allure and making them a delightful addition to the British landscape. Overall, Honeysuckle flowers in the UK are a symbol of natural beauty, grace, and the enchanting charm of the countryside.
Honeysuckle produces small, round berries that are commonly referred to as "honeyberries" in the UK. These berries, which appear after the flowering period, are typically a deep red or purple in color, though some varieties may exhibit shades of orange or yellow. The berries are characterized by a glossy surface, and their size can vary depending on the specific species of Honeysuckle. In terms of texture, Honeysuckle berries are often smooth and plump, containing multiple seeds within. The taste of the berries can be sweet and mildly tart, offering a flavorful combination that is enjoyed by wildlife and, in some cases, used in culinary applications. It's worth noting that while some species of Honeysuckle produce berries that are safe for consumption, others may be toxic, so it's essential to identify the specific type of Honeysuckle before attempting to use the berries.
A deciduous climbing shrub but sometimes retains its leaves throughout the winter (making it evergreen). Simple, dark green, oval, untoothed leaves, paler beneath. Either no stalks or very short-stalked. In autumn and winter, the leaves turn yellow.
The aroma of Honeysuckle, as experienced in the UK, is often described as sweet, delicate, and enchanting. The fragrance carries a subtle yet distinct sweetness, reminiscent of honey, with floral undertones that can be both soothing and invigorating. Inhaling the scent of Honeysuckle in the air can evoke a sense of freshness and natural beauty, adding a touch of sweetness to the surroundings. The fragrance is commonly associated with warm, sunny days, as Honeysuckle blossoms release their inviting aroma, creating a delightful olfactory experience in the British countryside or gardens.
Other Names:
European Honeysuckle, Woodbine, Woodbine Honeysuckle.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Lonicera periclymenum, also known as common honeysuckle or woodbine, is a species of honeysuckle that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen climbing vine that can grow up to 20 feet long. The leaves are opposite, glossy, and dark green, and the plant produces fragrant, tubular flowers that are typically white, pink or yellow in color. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, and are followed by small, black berries that are attractive to birds.

Lonicera periclymenum is a popular garden plant and is often used for climbing walls, fences, and arbors. It is hardy, easy to grow and tolerant of most soil types, but it does prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is also valued for its ornamental and ecological value, it is often used in wildlife gardens and as a naturalizing plant in woodlands and hedgerows. However, it can be invasive in some areas, so it is important to keep an eye on its growth and to prune it as necessary.

It is considered as an invasive species in some countries, because of its vigorous growth habit and ability to outcompete native plants. It is important to be aware of the local regulations before planting this species, and to consider non-invasive alternatives.


Common honeysuckle, scientifically known as Lonicera periclymenum, is a deciduous climbing plant that is native to Europe, including the United Kingdom. It belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family and is also known as woodbine or European honeysuckle. The plant is widely cultivated for its fragrant and showy flowers that bloom in summer.

Appearance and Habitat

Common honeysuckle is a fast-growing climber that can reach up to 6 meters in height. The plant has woody stems that are covered with a brown bark and can twine around other plants for support. The leaves are oval, opposite and have a smooth texture. They are dark green in color and measure around 5-9cm in length. The flowers of the common honeysuckle are trumpet-shaped and bloom in June and July. They are sweetly scented, creamy-white to yellow in color and can grow up to 5cm long. The fruit of the plant is a red berry that matures in autumn.

The common honeysuckle is a hardy plant that grows in a variety of soil types but prefers a moist and well-drained soil. It thrives in full sun or partial shade and is often found growing in hedgerows, woodland edges, and scrubland. The plant is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and is often trained to grow over arches, trellises or pergolas.

Uses and Benefits

Common honeysuckle has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. The flowers of the plant contain essential oils that are used in aromatherapy for their calming and relaxing properties. They are also used to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, and sore throats.

In addition, the flowers of the plant can be used to make tea, which has a sweet and delicate flavor. The tea is believed to have diuretic properties and can help to soothe the digestive system. The fruit of the plant is also edible and can be used to make jams and jellies.

Common honeysuckle is also an important plant for wildlife. The flowers are a rich source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and moths, while the berries provide food for birds such as thrushes, blackbirds, and finches.

Cultivation and Maintenance

Common honeysuckle is a relatively easy plant to grow and maintain. It can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or layering. The best time to plant common honeysuckle is in the spring or autumn. It is important to choose a well-drained soil and a sunny or partially shaded spot.

Once established, common honeysuckle requires little maintenance. It should be watered regularly, especially during dry spells, and can be pruned in the winter to maintain its shape and size. It is also important to remove any dead or diseased wood.

More Information

Common honeysuckle is not only valued for its medicinal and culinary properties but also for its ornamental value. The plant's fragrant flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice for gardens, parks, and public spaces. The plant is often trained to grow over arches, trellises or pergolas, providing a beautiful and fragrant display in the summer.

In addition to its ornamental value, common honeysuckle also has cultural and historical significance. In folklore, the plant was believed to have magical properties and was used in spells and charms. It was also associated with love and fidelity, and was used in wedding bouquets and decorations.

Common honeysuckle has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant's essential oils have been used to treat a range of conditions, including respiratory ailments, headaches, and rheumatism. The flowers and leaves of the plant were also used to make poultices for the treatment of skin conditions such as burns and wounds.

As a climber, common honeysuckle can provide an excellent habitat for a range of wildlife. The plant's dense foliage provides cover for birds and small mammals, while the flowers and fruit provide a source of food. The plant is particularly important for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, which rely on the nectar-rich flowers for sustenance.

Common honeysuckle is also known for its ability to grow and spread quickly, making it a valuable plant for erosion control and soil stabilization. Its deep roots help to bind soil and prevent erosion, while its ability to grow in a range of soil types makes it an ideal choice for land restoration projects.

The plant is also tolerant of air pollution and can help to improve air quality in urban areas. Its leaves absorb pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, reducing their levels in the surrounding environment.

Common honeysuckle has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, where it is known as ren dong teng. The plant is believed to have a cooling effect on the body and is used to treat conditions such as fever, inflammation, and headaches.

In recent years, common honeysuckle has been the subject of research into its potential as a source of new drugs. Studies have identified compounds in the plant that show promise in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions.

Common honeysuckle is also used in the production of essential oils, which are extracted from the flowers using steam distillation. The oil is used in aromatherapy and perfumery, and is valued for its sweet, floral fragrance.

In traditional European medicine, common honeysuckle was used as a diuretic, helping to promote the excretion of urine and reduce fluid retention. The plant was also used to treat digestive disorders such as bloating and constipation, and to stimulate appetite.

The plant has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed to have a cooling effect on the body and is used to treat conditions such as fever, inflammation, and headaches. In Chinese medicine, the plant is often combined with other herbs to create tonics and remedies for a range of conditions.

Recent research has shown that common honeysuckle contains a number of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, iridoids, and phenolic acids. These compounds have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, making common honeysuckle a potentially valuable source of new drugs and treatments.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental value, common honeysuckle is also used in culinary applications. The flowers and leaves can be used to flavor teas, syrups, and desserts, and the fruit can be used to make jams and jellies.

Overall, common honeysuckle is a valuable plant with many uses and benefits. Whether used for its medicinal properties, ornamental value, or culinary potential, the plant is an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. As we continue to discover new ways to use and appreciate this versatile plant, it is important that we work to protect and preserve it for future generations.

Facts about the Common Honeysuckle

Here are some interesting facts about Common Honeysuckle:

  1. Common Honeysuckle, also known as European Honeysuckle or Woodbine, is native to Europe and western Asia.

  2. The scientific name of Common Honeysuckle is Lonicera periclymenum. It belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family.

  3. The plant is a deciduous climber that can grow up to 6 meters in height.

  4. Common Honeysuckle has fragrant flowers that bloom in the summer months. The flowers are typically pink, red, or white and have a sweet, heady fragrance.

  5. The plant has long, narrow leaves that are dark green in color. The leaves are arranged in pairs along the stem.

  6. Common Honeysuckle is a popular garden plant, and there are many cultivars available with different flower colors and shapes.

  7. The plant is often used to attract wildlife such as bees, butterflies, and birds to gardens and natural areas.

  8. Common Honeysuckle has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties, particularly for respiratory and digestive ailments.

  9. The plant is also used in perfumery and aromatherapy for its sweet, floral fragrance.

  10. Common Honeysuckle is known for its ability to grow and spread quickly, making it a valuable plant for erosion control and soil stabilization. Its deep roots help to bind soil and prevent erosion.


Video 1: The Common Honeysuckle in flower filmed at the following locations:
  • Capernwray, Lancashire: 2nd June 2023
  • Wigan, Lancashire: 9th June 2023
  • Glasson Dock, Lancashire: 30th July 2023

Video 2: Honeysuckle in fruit filmed in and around the Chorley area of Lancashire.


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