Sunday, July 22, 2012


click photo to enlarge
The charmingly named honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) was also long known by the equally delightful name, woodbine, after its habit of twining tightly around the trees and shrubs on which it grows. However, in Britain this appellation was sullied by being applied to a brand of cigarettes, a move that effectively robbed the plant of its old name and transferred it to the cigarette. Today most people call the plant only by the common name. The plant has a particularly attractive flower that often (though not always) has a lovely scent. Greek architecture made use of the shape of the unopened buds of the honeysuckle in the ornamental motif known as anthemion. It was often used in friezes, alternating with palmettes.

I first came across this plant as a wild flower when I was a child growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, and knew it as one that particularly attracted moths and bees. Only later in life did I recognise it as a garden climbing plant, available in a number of varieties. We have two honeysuckles that climb up hedges and pergolas in our garden. One is the early flowering Lonicera x tellmanniana with yellow blooms, and the other is the later flowering variety shown above. The "Serotina" part of its name means "late blooming".

I've always thought that there is something insect-like about the flower of the honeysuckle. It's probably due to the long, curved filaments that remind me of a proboscis or antennae. This photograph accentuates that characteristic, making the plant look like it is reaching out.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm macro
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
ISO: 250
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On