Woody vine to 5 m long Stem: typically hairless. Leaves: opposite, stalkless, deep green above, to around 5 cm long, to around 4 cm wide, narrowly oblong to broadly oval, with a waxy coating (glaucous) beneath. The uppermost pair of leaves are fused into a slightly hairy or glaucous, diamond-shaped to elliptic disk. Flowers: in one to four whorls at branch tips, stalkless. Calyx five-toothed, minute, green. Corolla scarcely two-lipped, red or yellow outside, yellow inside, 3 - 5 cm long, narrow, trumpet-shaped, five-lobed (lobes nearly equal and much shorter than tube). Stamens five, barely exserted. Anthers yellow. Fruit: a few-seeded berry, in clusters, red.
Similar species: Lonicera dioica and L. prolifera are similar but have strongly two-lipped corolla lobes. Lonicera x heckrottii is also similar but it is usually an upright shrub.
Flowering: April to June
Habitat and ecology: Native to parts of the Eastern and Southern United States. Cultivated and rarely escaped to woods, thickets, and roadsides.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: The brilliant red flowers of this striking plant are great for attracting flying insects and hummingbirds.
Etymology: Lonicera is named after Adam Lonicer (1528-1586), a German botanist and author. Sempervirens means evergreen.
Woody twiner; lvs narrowly oblong to broadly oval, the uppermost pair (seldom 2 pairs) connate into a rhombic-elliptic disk, glaucous and glabrous, or villous especially
beneath; fls in 1-4 whorls; cor 3-5 cm, narrow, red or yellow outside, yellow inside, the 5 lobes about equal, much shorter than the tube; stamens and style barely exserted; 2n=18, 36. Woods and thickets, native at least from Conn. to Fla. and w. to Okla., widely escaped from cult. elsewhere. May-Fall. The widespread var. sempervirens has the stems, upper side of lvs, hypanthium, and outside of the cor glabrous. Var. hirsutula Rehder, occurring from Ala. to N.C., and reported from Va., has ciliate lvs hairy above, sometimes glandular stems, hairy cor, and glandular hypanthium. (Phaenanthus s.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.