Florida Forestry Information
Caprifoliaceae
The Honeysuckle Family
 
The honeysuckle family includes 10 genera and about 275 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs.  This family is noted its many fine shrubs with attractive flowers and colorful fruits. 

 Click on the links below for an introduction to some of the plants of this family:
 
elderberry
rusty blackhaw
Japanese honeysuckle
 
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Sambucus canadensis 
elderberry 
 
Habit

The elderberry is a soft-stemmed shrub which grows to a height of about 12 feet.  This shrub is particularly noted for its attractive compound foliage and inflorescence - large branched clusters of tiny white flowers. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are odd-pinnately compound, opposite, and deciduous.  The lower leaflets may be irregularly lobed.  The upper leaflets are long, elliptic and have an acute apex.  Leaf bases are rounded to acute.  Leaf margins are serrate.  The leaf petioles are 1-3 inches in length, with pubescence.  The upper surface of the leaflets is dark green, with short pubescence on the midrib.  The lower surface is paler green, glabrous, and pubescent along the midrib and major veins. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this plant are perfect, with tiny white petals.  The flowers are clustered in a relatively large characteristic branched inflorescence which is flat-topped to broadly rounded.  Flowering may extend across much of the season, although peak bloom occurs mainly in mid-summer.   
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a very small, juicy, purplish-black berry-like drupe. 
 
Habitat 

Elderberry grows in moist to wet open places, on the borders of swamps and wet woodlands, ditches, canal banks, bayous, wet clearings, and disturbed sites.  This plant occurs throughout the eastern and midwestern U.S., Canada, and Mexico. 
 
Use 

This tree is sometimes used as an ornamental. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
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Viburnum rufidulum 
rusty blackhaw viburnum 
 
Habit 

The rusty blackhaw is a shrub or small tree, 20-25 feet high, 3-6 inches in diameter.  In the forest it produces a short, clear bole, which supports an open, rounded, or flat-topped head. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are simple, opposite, and deciduous.  Leaves are 2-3 inches long, 1-1.5 inch wide, oval-shaped, with a rounded or abruptly sharp pointed apex.  Leaf bases are rounded or wedge-shaped.  Leaf margins are finely, sometimes remotely serrate.  Leaf surfaces are dark, lustrous green above, paler below with scattered, rusty-red hairs along the midrib and principal veins.  Petioles are stout, about 1/2 inch long, grooved, sometimes winged, and often covered with rusty red pubescence. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this plant are perfect and in flat-topped, sessile clusters, 4-6 inches wide. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is an oblong, bright blue drupe, sometimes covered with a whitish, waxy layer, about 1/4 inch wide, occurring on red stalks in drooping clusters. 
 
Twigs 

Twigs are stout, dotted with small, reddish-colored lenticels, and clothed in woolly rusty red hairs.  Pith is rounded or angular and homogeneous. 

Bark 

Bark is dark brown to nearly black, divided transversely and longitudinally by narrow fissures, giving it the appearance of alligator skin.  The bark of this tree somewhat resembles that of the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). 
 
Habitat 

The rusty blackhaw viburnum is an understory species found on a variety of sites.  It grows best on moist, rich alluvium.  It is found from southwestern Virginia west through southern Illinois to central Missouri and eastern Kansas; south to Florida; west through the Gulf region to eastern Texas. 
 
Use 

This tree is sometimes used as an ornamental. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
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Lonicera japonica 
Japanese honeysuckle 
 
Habit 

The Japanese honeysuckle is a high-climbing or trailing woody vine with attractive flowers. 

Leaves 

Leaves are simple, opposite, and evergreen.  The leaves are 2-3 inches in length, pubescent, and oval shaped with an acute apex.  Leaves on new spring shoots may be deeply, almost pinnately, lobed.  Leaf bases are rounded.  Leaf margins are entire.  The leaf petioles are very short with pubescence. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this plant are perfect, fragrant, and occur on short stalks.  The flowers are white becoming cream colored or pinkish-purple.   
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a very small, black berry containing many lustrous black seeds. 
 
Habitat 

The Japanese honeysuckle is native to Asia but is widely naturalized in the U.S.  It is found in woodlands, fields, thickets, and roadsides.  This plant is commonly overwhelming and eradicates native flora.  It is difficult to control.  It is common throughout the midwestern and eastern U.S. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
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