Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Three honeysuckles

A bout of sciatica has rather limited my botanical ramblings, but over the past few days I've recorded three non-native honeysuckles not that far from home.

The first was spotted growing as an isolated bush in a grassy field close to a bridleway north of Castor village  - it had pink flowers and was not a species I'd seen before. It turned out to be Lonicera tatarica (Tartarian Honeysuckle), which is usually bird-sown. This seems to be the only record for VC32, and it was first recorded by David Broughton in 2007.

Lonicera tatarica

The other two species are both growing close to the pond at the western end of Bluebell Wood. I've known for many years that Lonicera involucrata (Californian Honeysuckle) is naturalised there, and today it was flowering close to the path. It's easy to identify, being a shrubby species with ovate bracts at the base of the flowers, which are orange and have glandular hairs.

Lonicera involucrata

Somehow I seem to have completely overlooked the other species until today. There is a large bush of Lonicera xylosteum (Fly Honeysuckle) growing close by, which has tiny linear-lanceolate bracts and pale yellow to cream zygomorphic flowers. The young leaves and stems are also hairy. This only seems to have two localities in VC32, and was first recorded from Bluebell Wood in 2009.

Lonicera xylosteum

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