En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 24, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed creamy white, fragrant flowers before it leafed out in the spring. It had little water beyond rain and good drainage. I con't remember the leaf structure. The flowers (forgive my lack of botanical terms) looked like Japanese honeysuckle or even salvia with longish petals, but this was a bush. Have never seen it anywhere else. I grow mostly natives, but in memory of this beloved man who grew yellow iris (I have them from his garden),wisteria, yellow Banksia roses, Cecile Brunner roses (I grow them, too), loquats, figs, coral vine,and more. You're my best shot at finding "winter honeysuckle." Thanks as ever for all you do.

ANSWER:

As you probably already know, the expertise of Mr. Smarty Plants is confined to plants native not only to North America but also to the area where the plant is being grown; in your case, Travis County, TX. Lonicera fragrantissima, Winter Honeysuckle is a shrub rather than a vine as are many of the other members of the Lonicera genus, and is native to China. As such, it would be of no use to you if we referred you to our native plant National Suppliers Directory. According to the Invasive Plant Atlas, it is evergreen in the South and can invade disturbed areas and woodlands, crowding out native plants. From that article:

"Sweet breath of spring (Lonicera fragrantissima) readily invades open woodlands, old fields and other disturbed sites. Its rapid spread is attributed to birds and mammals dispersing the seeds. It can form a dense understory thicket which can restrict native plant growth and tree seedling establishment."

Here is an article from Dave's Garden on Lonicera fragrantissima which has several negative comments on its invasiveness. At the top of that page, there is a link saying "8 vendors have this plant for sale." If you are that anxious to recover a memory from your grandfather's garden, you may find a mail order vendor for it, but remember, you were warned!

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Insects on hybrid 'Ann' magnolia in Morrow OH
June 17, 2010 - I have an Ann Magnolia. It is covered in all kinds of stinging insects and flies. This has never happened before. Is this a common problem for the tree? What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native New Dawn rose in Fairfield CT
May 13, 2009 - Hi! Can you help me with blind shoots on a climbing rose, New Dawn? The sun is planted in the south side of the house and gets plenty of light. I have only lightly fertilized it twice a year last yea...
view the full question and answer

Death of non-native eleaegnus from Austin
March 30, 2013 - We have a long hedge of elaeagnus, about 5 ft tall. Four of them died in the middle of the hedge. Where can we find such big plants? Is it advisable to unroot and transplant from another area?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center