Lonicera Arizonica Rehd.
by Marie Snyder, Native Plants of Arizona 2009
Common names: Arizona Honeysuckle (1).
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) (2).
Etymology: Common name derived from the flowers being rich in nectar or “honey” and are “sucked” by hummingbirds thus giving rise to the name “honeysuckle” (2). Lonic'era: named for Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586), a German herbalist, physician and botanist who wrote a standard herbal text that was reprinted many times between 1557 and 1783 (6). Arizon'ica: of or from Arizona (6).
Growth form: Climbing vine or woody shrub (3).
Stem: Trailing woody stems vary from gray to brown, bark becomes stringy and shreddy with age (2). A stiff trailing vine to 3' or more (5).
Leaves: oval to elliptical, simple, opposite, finely glandular-hairy; lower leaves to 2” wide, 2 ¾” long on short stalks, upper leaves stalkless, ciliate, united at base around stem (perfoliate) (3, 5).
Inflorescence/flowers: Flowers 2-3 in small, terminal, whorled cluster arising from 2 joined leaves. Corolla red outside, with orange throat inside; trumpet shaped; (4, 5).
Fruit: Cluster of red berries (5).
Similar species: Lonicera arizonica is the only honeysuckle with an orange-red flower and only woody, upright vine in the area (4).
Life history: Perennial (3).
Native/introduced: Native (3).
Phenology: Flowers June through July (5).
Distribution: From 6000 to 9000 ft in open, coniferous forests in Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Gila, Maricopa, Pima, Cochise and Graham counties of Arizona; also in Utah and New Mexico (1, 2, 3).
Uses: Lonicera arizonica is used medicinally as a purgative(2). It is reported that some people do eat the berries, but they may be undesirable due to the purgative effects (2). Leaves are also used in Navajo tradition as a ceremonial emetic (7). Flowers of old world species are used to make perfume and syrup of fruits has been used to treat asthma (2).
Notes: This species is a favorite of hummingbirds. Berries eaten by birds and small mammals. There are six species of Lonicera in Arizona (5).
1. USDA, NRCS. (2007). The PLANTS Database . Retrieved Sept. 21, 2007, from http://plants.usda.gov .
2. Elmore, Francis H., Janish, Jeanne R. (1997) Shrubs & Trees of the Southwest Uplands. Western National Parks Association.
3. Lady Bird Johnson Flower Center (2009). Native Plant Database. Retrieved Sept 9, 2009 from http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=LOAR
4. Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness. Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences. (2009). Retrieved Sept 9, 2009 from
5. Epple, Anne Orth. (1995). A Field Guide to the Plants of Arizona . LewAnn Publishing Company, Mesa, AZ in cooperation with SkyHouse Publishers.
6. Charters, Michael L. California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations. Retrieved Sept 21, 2007 from http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/index.html
7. Moerman, D. 2003. Native American Ethnobotany Database ( http://herb.umd.umich.edu/ ). University of Michigan , Dearborn , MI 48198 U