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Lonicera involucrata (Twinberry honeysuckle)
Beckers, Eric

Lonicera involucrata

Lonicera involucrata (Richardson) Banks ex Spreng.

Twinberry Honeysuckle, Black Twinberry Honeysuckle, Black Twinberry, Bearberry Honeysuckle, Four-line Honeysuckle

Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)


USDA Symbol: LOIN5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A formal-looking, shiny-green shrub, four-line honeysuckle or black twinberry usually grows from 3-10 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 native to eastern Asia that sometimes escapes into the wild.

The genus, Lonicera, is named for Adam Lonicer (1528 - 1586), a German botanist 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.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Black, Purple

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Yellow, sometimes red or purple tinged.


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MI , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Mts. of c. & n. CA to AK, e. to NM & MT, s. to northwestern Mexico down to Durango; less commonly to Upper MI & Que.
Native Habitat: Moist or wet, open woods from 6000-10,000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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: Gillette's Checkerspot (Euphydryas gillettii)

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Species of Lonicera come easily from cuttings: hardwood cuttings outdoors or young, summer shoots over bottom heat. Seeds germinate well if treated.
Seed Treatment: Stratification is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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 on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lonicera involucrata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lonicera involucrata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lonicera involucrata


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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