Western trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) is native to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Northern California, mostly west of the Cascades. It is also found in Idaho and Montana with isolated communities in Utah and Arizona. Western trumpet honeysuckle ecology is woods and thickets from sea level to mid-elevations.
A member of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae), Western trumpet honeysuckle is a widely branching, climbing vine that sometimes takes on a shrubby aspect. The twigs are hollow. The plant is deciduous.
The opposite, oval leaves have a whitish bloom underneath. The end pair on each twig are joined to form a disk. The young leaves may be hairy. Older plants lose their hairs only sometimes retaining hairs along the leaf margins.
The western trumpet honeysuckle inflorescence is a whorl of flowers at the branch ends above the disk leaf. The yellow-orange flowers occasionally become purplish with age and drying. The flowers are narrowly trumpet shaped flaring to 5 lobes. The ovary is inferior and there are five stamens. Hummingbirds feed on the flowers. Children, adults too, suck the sugar filled nectaries at the base of the flowers.
Orange-red, translucent, several-seeded western trumpet honeysuckle fruits occur in bunches. The berries are considered inedible and may be poisonous. Although not favorites, birds do eat the berries.
Native Americans used western trumpet honeysuckle stems for weaving, binding and lashing, The twining nature of the stems provide nest habitat for birds. A black dye is also concocted from the stems.
Medicinally, infusions of the western trumpet honeysuckle leaves or bark are reputed to stimulate lacteal flow and have been used to treat colds, sore throats and tuberculosis. The infusion is also considered a contraceptive.
Adam Lonitzer (Lonicerus – 1528 to 1586), a German botanist and author, is honored by the genus name. Another common name for L ciliosa is orange honeysuckle.
This specimen was photographed in June along the Upper Rogue River below the Lost Creek Dam in Oregon (Jackson County).