Honeysuckle Bush?

Asked June 9, 2017, 3:08 PM EDT

In my childhood home (circa 1970's) we had an informal hedge which we always called Honeysuckle. I want to plant similar bushes in my yard but I can't seem to find ones that look like the ones we had. If I recall correctly, the bush had thorns, green leaves, grew to about 5 or 6 feet tall, it had small flowers in the spring which became juicy red berrries with multiple seeds. We were told the berries were poisonous but birds ate them. I remember other neighbors had similar plants with yellow or orange berries. If you could help identify what plant this was I would appreciate it. I am wanting to plant something that is an informal hedge/screen that would attract birds. So, if you have any other suggestions that would be great. Thank You Bob

Washington County Minnesota

3 Responses

With the exception of the thorns, what you have described fits the characteristics of honeysuckle shrub species that were once widely used hedge plants. Many of these have fallen out of favor as hedge plants and are no longer sold by nurseries and garden centers. Here's why:

Some honeysuckle varieties became susceptible to aphids. Infested plants develop distorted stems with multiple growing points that resemble a witches' broom. Go here to learn about witches' broom:
http://cues.cfans.umn.edu/old/Web/153HoneysuckleWitchesBroomAphid.pdf

Many of the same species have naturalized and spread so rapidly they are now considered invasive and considerable effort and cost are expended annually to eradicate them. Go here to learn about that:
http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/forests/private/tools-resources/publications/invasive-pla...

If you want to select a hedge plant alternative to honeysuckle, consider visiting the hedge plant collection at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There are many possibilities.
http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/hedgecollection.aspx

Thank you very much for the prompt response to my question. I ended up doing some more searching about Honeysuckle on the internet and came to the same conclusion; that the one's we had are now considered invasive. It's kind of funny that when we moved from the house with the honeysuckle, we used buckthorn in our new house's landscape. Hopefully, the garden community has learned it's lessons about non-native species.

It sounds like there are plenty of good alternatives and I will definitely visit the arboretum. I have always wanted to go, but haven't done it yet. I will make it a goal for this spring/summer.

Thanks again for you response.

Bob

Unfortunately, the list of non-native plants cherished by the garden community that have or will soon be considered invasive just keeps growing: Japanese barberry, Norway maple, winged euonymus, etc.

Go here for an interesting discussion of the subject:
https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-080/426-080_pdf.pdf

More here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW5FSZUMzJY&feature=youtu.be