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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 01, 2011

From: Fairfax, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Nectar from Lonicera sempervirens edible from Fairfax VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is the nectar from Lonicera sempervirens edible?

ANSWER:

We think so, but we got conflicting vibes from Dave's Garden on that. In their introductory portion was this comment about Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle):

"Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested"

The second was one of the contributors' personal experience:

"I noticed no one even commented on the tasty fun of this plant. Both the white/yellow honeysuckle as well as this one have a very sweet nectar inside. As kids and even still today here where I live, we'll pick the flower, bite off the very back end, spit it out and then suck the nectar out of the back of the flower. To this day I still wish there were a way to harvest it for a syrup, if only they made it in greater amounts, but that makes the little treat all the more something to savor and memories to cherish."

Remember, Dave's Garden is a forum, and the comments are all personal opinions volunteered by readers. We did, however, find one of our own previous answers, which details the various honeysuckles, native and non-native, that can be poisonous. Most of the poisonous substances involved berries, and the general consensus that there is so little nectar available (unless you're a hummingbird) that you are probably not going to make yourself sick drinking it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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