Amur Honeysuckle

I’m sure that you’ve noticed all sorts of trees and bushes flowering this spring.  Here in Ohio, one bush in particular is very widespread, and it is hard to miss in woods, fields and roadsides.  Its numerous white blossoms almost define spring.

Close up, the blooms show an intricate detail, all in symmetrical rows along the branches.  Its leaves come to a fine point.

This is Amur Honeysuckle, a deciduous woody shrub that’s native to eastern Asia.  It was introduced to North America in the 1800’s as an ornamental landscaping plant, but it spread into the wild over the eastern United States and Canada.  It is a hardy species, leafing early in spring and retaining those leaves late into the fall.  Birds spread its seeds through droppings, and it dominates the undergrowth to the point of crowding out other native species.

This plant is an excellent example of an invasive species.  Basically, an invasive species is one which is not a native to a region that adversely affects its new environment, often by crowding out native species.  When a species takes over a specific niche to the exclusion of others, it is said to be an example of  monoculture.

As you can see in the above photo, this plant can dominate the areas it grows in.  Some landowners attempt to eradicate it with varying results.  Ironically, this plant is an endangered species in Japan.  I’m sure there are people in North America who would be happy to share their bounty with the Japanese!

Late in the month, the blooms of the Amur Honeysuckle start turning yellow and dropping off.

This plant will come to our attention once more in the autumn- I’ll be talking about it again at that time.