Bracted honeysuckle

<em> Lonicera involucrata</em>

This lovely shrub is native across much of Canada, including the prairies. It is surprisingly underused in North America but prized as a garden plant in Europe.

The bracted honeysuckle is a stiff, upright shrub growing 3-6 ft. tall and is something special. The leaves are large and course, and the flowers are lemon yellow and always arranged in pairs. These are set against reddish coloured bracts that are almost as showy (if not more so) than the blooms themselves, and the flowers appear over a very long period. The flowers have a faint, pleasant scent.

Flowers give way to large, shiny, black berries that are jewel-like against the red bracts. These juicy berries are loved by birds and bears, though they can make people sick if eaten in quantity. The exfoliating bark is also unusual.

It does best in a moist, sheltered site with humusy soil and will appreciate protection from the wind. This is a fantastic and little used shrub that is particularly good if you are looking to attract “visitors”- bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and sphinx moths all love the blossoms and songbirds love the fruits!

While best in partial sun, it is also very tolerant of partial shade. It does well in moist soils and areas with poor drainage and is tollerant to pollution. You won't likely find this at your local greenhouse but it is sometimes available from native plant specialists.