Honeysuckle – the perfect wingman*

by zoe | 10.02.2014 | honeysuckle , plant of the week | 0 comments | Rating: 1 votes

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

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*Wingman [wɪŋmən] n. – a friend who goes out with you and helps you to attract potential partners

It’s a difficult thing, choosing a wingman. On the one hand, you want to look like you have cool, fun friends. On the other hand, if they’re too cool and fun, it’s likely that the person you’re trying to chat up will end up falling for them.

Attracting a potential partner would be much easier if your wingman was more like honeysuckle. Like any good wingman, honeysuckle is an attractive thing – each flower is long, slender and has two pretty lips. It smells good. Everyone wants to be around a honeysuckle. But here’s the thing: when honeysuckle flowers are pollinated, they change colour. Lonicera periclymenum, for example, changes from white and creamy to a buff-coloured orange (ain’t that just the way that the taken one’s buff…) In addition, the flowers also change angle, dropping downwards once pollinated. A huge signal for any pollinator that comes along, to say: ‘Hey, I’m taken. But have you seen my attractive, unpollinated friend right here?’

If you want a sweet-smelling wingman growing up your wall and attracting wildlife, then why not consider the fragrant Lonicera x purpusii, or Winter beauty, which can withstand temperatures down to -18 C? It flowers late into the winter and early spring, occasionally followed by red berries. An even hardier variety is the lonicera standishii, or Budapest, which has pink-tinged white flowers and can survive temperatures down to -29 C… but it can be pretty difficult to track down.


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