There are about 180 species of Lonicera (honeysuckles) widely distributed in the north temperate zone. These are mostly shrubby plants, but in Virginia, we have two species that are woody vines (lianas). These two lianous honeysuckles should be familiar to all Virginia Native Plant Society members. One is this year’s VNPS Wildflower of the Year, Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle), and the other is Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), widely and deservedly reviled as one of our most aggressive invasive exotic species. Together, these two plants make an odd pair, a sort of botanical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What is it, exactly, that makes their biology so different?

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Copyright © 2014, Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society: 33:1 (2014), 1, 6, 8.

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