AN AREA ONCE TROUBLED WITH INVASIVES HAS BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO RE-FOREST ITSELF. THE SANGUINE ROOT RESTORATION TEAM HAS INITIATED AN INVASIVE CONTROL EFFORT IN THE FALL OF 2010 IN AN AREA WHERE THE NATIVE LONICERA SEMPERVIRENS VINE GROWS.
THIS HAS BEEN A SUCCESSFUL OPERATION, AND THE INVASIVE LONICERA JAPONICA VINE HAS BEEN CONTROLLED AND THE NATIVE SEMPERVIRENS VINE IS NOW BLOOMING IN ABUNDANCE.
Commonly called the trumpet honeysuckle or the coral honeysuckle this is our native honeysuckle, and it has a woodland edge habit, requiring sun. Its establishment in this location may have to do with the disturbance in the forest that has led to the canopy loss in this area.
The location is on the Morris Park Road path on the south side of the two grand logs, just after you pass between them, the flowers can be viewed on both sides of the path.
This flower attracts hummingbirds. We have the Lonicera sempervirens growing in our yard, and we saw a hummingbird visiting the flowers last weekend.
The restoration initiative in Morris Park involved an extensive and often tedious process of separating the native Lonicera sempervirens from the invasive exotic Lonicera japonica, which were often twining up the same trees. This task demanded observational skills of the highest order, being that these vines look very similar when not in bloom.
The Japonica’s bloom is white and fragrant. The sempervirens unfortunately is not fragrant.
There are many subtle differences between the two vines that could be discerned after about 20 hours of volunteer service.
The sempervirens has a fused leaf at the end of the vine (perfoliate), just below the flower and the japonica does not. The leaves of the sempervirens are bluer and thicker with a waxy layer (glaucous) and without hairs (glabrous), whereas the japonica is greener with more tiny hairs on the leaf (downy). The japonica has an oak shaped leaf, usually at the lower portions of the vine. The vine of the sempervirens is darker in color and the outer layer is less flakey than that of the japonica.
After so many hours of carefully clipping off the invasive Japanese honeysuckle from the native trumpet honeysuckle, these differences became more and more obvious. There was a learning curve and there were a few miss-steps taken. However, the wrongly clipped native vines have recovered and are now flowering vigorously.
Lesson learned, if you are going to remove an invasive, try to make sure you know for sure it is that plant indeed.
The Japanese honeysuckle is overwhelmingly widespread throughout Morris Park and in many woodlands throughout the area. It is an endless presence along roadsides. The late fall and winter is the best time to remove it. However, always try to check and make sure it is not the native vine.
Lately it has been hard to find blooming Japanese Honeysuckle in our area of Morris Park. Not a bad problem to have.
Note the leaves of Lonicera japonica have fine hairs on them, and that the leaves are more green, and thinner. The flower is very different.
The colors are spectacular, ranging from yellowish to orange and a rich red. The vines do not choke the young host trees the way the non-native Japanese honeysuckle does.
As a garden specimen, the Lonicera sempervirens is a product available at nurseries, and will satisfy the customer. Plant in a sunny to a partly sunny location, and water well after planting until established, and you will have blooms and hummingbirds. Our specimen is brightening up that old 1960s era fence in the backyard.