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Indulging my interest in food and flavor, I love to write about cooking, gardening and life's bounty. My new book - "Discover Cooking with Lavender"- is now available

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Himalayan Honeysuckle

Seattle's summer left town for Labor Day weekend. On Monday, I went for a five-mile run. Panting for air, I struggled up a steep hill. This stunning shrub stopped me with its beauty. Honey bees could not resist these big blossoms. Maybe the summer weather had taken a holiday,however the bees were on duty and the bush was doing its job.
Okay, maybe I was looking for an excuse to take a break from climbing up this slope. I shot photos for ten minutes. What is the name of this plant?
The leaves reminded me of a hydrangea, but the flowers looked nothing like hydrangea blossoms. And what about the berries, so dark and shiny? I had to discover the plant's identity.
Today, when I looked at my photos, I once again marveled the plant's beauty. I emailed the Elizabeth C. Miller Library asking for help. I attached a photo.
The answer? "This is Himalayan honeysuckle, Leycesteria formosa. It is semi-evergreen here (depending on the specific microclimate it grows in)."

Plants That Merit Attention, Vol. 2, Shrubs , (by the Garden Club of America, 1984, p. 172) states:
Needs sun for best bract and fruit color; prefers rich, moist loam; tolerates wind, drought, and air pollution...A handsome woodland shrub best in natural setting or shrub border. Needs sun for best flower and fruit color. May be pruned in spring. Partial dieback in winter not unusual; shrub rejuvenates the following growing season, often growing back successfully from roots....
The website of Rainyside Gardeners (a Northwest site) has a useful page on Leycesteria formosa.
Thank you to Carrie Bowman at the Miller Library for the information.We are so fortunate to have this horticultural library in our community.
I have been looking for some plants to brighten my garden. I think I just found what I was looking for!


ddzeller said...

I've never seen anything quite so pretty in the fall. Is this a plant that is native to the Northwest?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making my morning a little bit better with this great article!!