COMMON NAME

Bell's honeysuckle
Bella honeysuckle


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lonicera x bella Zabel


FAMILY NAME COMMON

Honeysuckle family


FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lonicera x bella


IMAGES


Branch with flowers

Flower close-up

Fruit on branch

Species comparisons: Left: L. morrowii, Center: L. x bella, Right: L. tatarica

Habit

NOMENCLATURE/SYNONYMS

Synonyms: None


DESCRIPTION

Botanical Glossary

Lonicera bella is the hybrid of L. tartarica and L. morrowii. Identification of this plant is difficult because of its many intermediate characteristics. Lonicera bella tends to be a taller plant than either of its parents, and can reach 6 m (20 ft.) in height. The young stems of this plant are hollow and are sparsely pubescent. The oppositely leaves are slightly pubescent on their lower surface. The leaves are ovate to ovate-elliptic in shape, measuring 3-6 cm (1-2.5 in.) long. The leaf bases are rounded or subcordate. Due to the presence of backcrossed individuals, the characters of the flowers of Lonicera bella are quite variable. The flowers of Lonicera bella are usually pink in color, often fading to yellow. They measure 1.5-2 cm (0.6-0.75 in.) in size. The flowers are on peduncles that are longer than the subtending petioles, measuring approximately 1 cm (0.4 in.) long. The outside of the corolla of the flower is usually glabrous. The bracteoles are half as long as the ovary when the flower is fully open. Flowers appear on this plant from May to early June. The berries are spherical, red in color and found in pairs. The fruit ripen in late summer or early fall. The seeds are rather flat and ovate in shape. Page References Bailey 943, Fernald 1333, Gleason & Cronquist 509, Holmgren 478, Magee & Ahles 963, Newcomb 294. See reference section below for full citations.


SIMILAR SPECIES

Lonicera morrowii Gray (Morrow's honeysuckle)
L. tartarica L. (Tartarian honeysuckle)
L. maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Amur honeysuckle)
L. xylosteum L. (Dwarf honeysuckle)
Lonicera spp. (Native bush honeysuckles) Link to the key of exotic honeysuckles The key above does not include the native bush honeysuckles. One way to differentiate between the invasive bush honeysuckles and the native ones is that the invasive honeysuckles all have hollow stems, while the stems of the native ones are solid.


REPRODUCTIVE/DISPERSAL MECHANISMS

The fruits of Lonicera bella are dispersed by birds.


DISTRIBUTION

Since the parent plants of Lonicera bella have native ranges that do not overlap, this hybrid was first observed in botanical gardens in Europe. In the United States, it has been reported from the Northeastern states, south to South Carolina and west to Minnesota and Illinois. This plant has been observed in all the states of New England.


HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND

The history of introduction of this plant is related to the history of introduction of L. morrowii and L. tatarica. Deliberate hybridizations of this plant were made in Russia before 1889. It is not clear whether the hybrid was deliberately introduced or if the parents were introduced and the parents then hybridized in the United States.


HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND

Abandoned Field,Early Successional Forest,Edge,Floodplain Forest,Open Disturbed Area,Pasture,Planted Forest,Roadside,Utility Right-of-Way,Vacant Lot,Yard or Garden

Like its parents, Lonicera bella is adaptable to a wide variety of habitats ranging from open forests to fields and roadsides. It can tolerate various moisture and light regimes as well.


THREATS

The "hybrid swarm" of L. morrowii, L. tatarica and L. bella causes a complicated situation in natural habitats. Regardless of which plant is actually present, all of these plants form dense stands that can suppress the growth of native species of plants. Thus, ecologically, these plants all appear to be very similar in their effects.


MANAGEMENT LINKS

Virginia Native Plant Society

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Natural History Survey
General description and management guidelines

Plant Conservation Alliance
Fact sheet including management information


DOCUMENTATION NEEDS

Documentation required: A specific photograph of a close-up of the flowers or mounted snippet of the flowers.
Best time for documentation: Late spring.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Taxonomic information about the species

PLANTS Database
General information and map

Plant Conservation Alliance
Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles

Virginia Native Plant Society
Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Descriptive and control information about the bush honeysuckles.

Wisconsin State Herbarium
Image and brief description about this plant in Wisconsin


REFERENCES

Bailey, L. H.  1949.  Manual of Cultivated Plants.  Macmillan, New York.

Barnes, W.J. and G. Cottam.  1974.  Some autecological studies of the Lonicera x bella complex.  Ecology 55: 40-50.

Converse, C.K. 1985. Element Stewardship Abstract for Lonicera tatarica,L. Morrowii, and L. X bella.. The Nature Conservancy. Unpublished document .

Dirr, M.A. 1998.  Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.  5th ed.  Stipes Publishing, Champaign, Illinois.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.

Gleason H.A. and A.C. Cronquist.  1991.  Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Holmgren N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Magee D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999.  Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Nyboer, R. . Vegetation Management Guideline: Bush Honeysuckles - Tatarian, Morrow's, Belle, and Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica L., L. Morrowii Gray, L. X bella Zabel, and L. Maackii [Rupr.] Maxim.). Natural Areas Journal 12(4): 218-219.

USDA, NRCS.  2001.  The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov).  National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.