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Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Lonicera involucrata (Richardson) Banks ex Spreng.
Twinberry honeysuckle, Four-line honeysuckle, Black twinberry, Bear berry honeysuckle
USDA Symbol: loin5
A formal-looking, shiny-green shrub, four-line honeysuckle or black twinberry usually grows from 3-8 ft. in height. Its deciduous leaves are opposite and oval. The tubular flowers occur in axillary pairs and fade from yellowish-orange to reddish-purple. They are followed by black berries, each subtended by four reddish bracts.
The berries are edible but not particularly tasty. Some birds and bears are known to eat the fruit, but these plants are not common enough to be important to wildlife. Twinberry is widespread, however, and the yellow flowers and paired fruits often attract attention. Several other honeysuckles, both shrubs and woody vines, occur in the West. The common garden honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a close relative that sometimes escapes into the wild. The genus, Lonicera, is named after a 16-century German herbalist.
This species is named for Adam Lonicer (1528 - 1586), a German botanis noted for his 1557 revised version of Eucharius RŲsslinís herbal. He became professor of Mathematics in 1553 and Doctor of Medicine in 1554, becoming the town physician in Frankfurt-am-Main. His true interest though was herbs and the study of botany.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf:
Black, Purple Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Mts. of c. & n. CA
e. to NM
& MT; less commonly to Upper MI
& Que. Native Habitat:
Moist or wet, open woods from 6000-10,000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Wet, brackish water margins.
Conditions Comments: Black twinberry tolerates air pollution.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and other wildlife.
Warning: Berries may be mildly poisonous if eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Gillettes Checkerspot (Euphydryas gillettii)
PropagationDescription: Species of Lonicera come easily from cuttings: hardwood cuttings outdoors or young, summer shoots over bottom heat. Seeds germinate well if treated.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Stratification is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2011-08-24
Research By: TWC Staff