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An orange honeysuckle is a deciduous vine, distinguished by its tube-shaped orange flowers. The vine may either grow along the ground or up surfaces such as other plants. Unlike some other vines, the plant is not aggressive and so it will not destroy surfaces or other plants it grows on. When full-grown, the vine can reach a total length of up to 20 feet (six meters).
Another name for the orange honeysuckle is the western trumpet honeysuckle, or its scientific name is Lonicera ciliosa. The plant typically grows in wooded areas and thickets, but people also use it as a decorative plant in their yard’s landscaping. The habitat of the orange honeysuckle includes the western United States from northern California to about northwestern Montana, and into the southern portion of British Columbia in Canada.
The flowers on the orange honeysuckle are typically bright orange, but they can also be gold or red in appearance. When the flowers begin to reach the end of their lifespan and dry out, they turn a purple. The plant’s flowers have five separate lobes, and the flowers measure about 0.8 to 1.5 inches (two to four cm) long. The plant’s flowers occur in small and dense clusters and attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
Leaves on the vine sit opposite each other and are oval in shape. When fully developed, the leaves measure between about 1.5 to 4 inches (four and ten cm) in length. The edges of the leaves are not smooth, but instead have a shaggy texture some compare to hair. A pair of leaves, which are actually connected to each other, sit below the clusters of flowers.
Fruit produced by the orange honeysuckle comes in the form of small clusters of berries. When ripe, the berries are red in appearance. These berries are not edible and might be poisonous to a human or animal who decides to consume them.
Requirements for orange honeysuckle to grown well include adequate water, since in nature the plant usually grows near streams. The plant also needs partial shade during the day or else it can easily burn and wither. Regular pruning helps ensure the vine continues to propagate.
Native Americans used the plant for a variety of purposes. They would strip the leaves, fruit and flowers off the vines, leaving just the vine itself. The vines then would be used for weaving, tying objects together and even for the construction of bridges.