Lonicera involucrata (Richardson) Banks ex Spreng.
Twinberry Honeysuckle, Black Twinberry Honeysuckle, Black Twinberry, Bearberry Honeysuckle, Four-line Honeysuckle
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)
USDA Symbol: loin5
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Fruit: Black, Purple
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Yellow, sometimes red or purple tinged.
DistributionUSA: 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 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: Gillette's Checkerspot (Euphydryas gillettii)
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Lonicera involucrata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lonicera involucrata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lonicera involucrata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff