Japanese Honeysuckle

There are some invasive plants we love to hate in North Carolina and others we hate to love. Japanese honeysuckle falls in the latter category.

It’s hard not to love honeysuckle, with its flowers that you smell long before you see. Last weekend, the scent of it danced in the air at Ev-Henwood. We followed the delicious smell straight to vines growing along the trails.

Belle lit up like a kid in a candy shop when she saw it. She immediately started plucking blooms to suck out the sweet nectar.

I feel like it was just yesterday that I taught her how to do that. I have dozens of photos of her and Bug with honeysuckle hanging out of their mouths taken when they were growing up. Though there isn’t any photographic evidence, I did the same as a kid.

When the girls were little, we collected blooms from our backyard to make honeysuckle jelly. While we foraged, they ate as many flowers as they put in the bucket.

Our house is the first one we’ve ever lived in without Japanese honeysuckle growing somewhere on the property. It’s one of the few flaws our house has.

I miss walking outside to the luscious fragrance of honeysuckle, but I can’t bring myself to plant any. The woody vine is one of the worst weeds found east of the Mississippi.

The Japanese native landed on Long Island in 1862. From there, the plant’s popularity spread up and down the East Coast.

Japanese honeysuckle is propagated through runners and birds that spread the berry seeds from one place to another. Before long, the plant was growing all over the South. Sadly, the beautiful vine is notorious for choking out native plants and killing trees.

I may not plant any around the house, but I don’t know if I’d have the heart to get rid of it if some popped up. I can’t think of many greater joys than walking outside to the scent of honeysuckle. How about you?

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