The honeysuckle's name invokes the beauty of a scented plant enticing pollinators to its embrace and the gift of nectar. It speaks in lore of affection as it binds itself to a tree and reaches to the sun and faithfulness to enrich the shaded woodland by its climbing efforts.
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine...
However it is also known as woodbine as it clambers up the trees, twisting in such a way it carves itself into the wood for eternity giving rise to 'dragon wands' which symbolise the rising of the earth energy upon the branch of the tree.
It was Shakespeare who also spoke of this twisting and although referred to gently he did not deny its strength. and its relationship with the life-giving sun, which does not penetrate the depths of the earth where it grows.
'So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
'steal into the pleached bower, where honeysuckles ripen'd by the sun,
forbid the sun to enter...'
In Celtic lore the honeysuckle is exalted as the 'King of the Trees' by Iubdhan, the king of the leprechauns.
'Monarch of Inis Fail's Forests woodbine is, whom none may hold captive; no feeble sovereign's effort is it to hug all tough trees in his embrace...'
A climber that is very much celebrated with its nectar rich trumpet-like flowers which exude a scent on summer evenings. Its leaves are amongst the first to appear in the woodland scene sometimes as early as December. If honeysuckle is brought into the house it is said a wedding will follow and placed in a girl’s bedroom will bring dreams of love.
Samuel Pepys, a 17th Century diarist called honeysuckle the trumpet flower whose bugles blow scent instead of sound.
Honeysuckle flowers can be used to help headaches, lung diseases and asthma.
Its bark can make cordage and it is said it was used as rope to move the great stones of stonehenge!
It seems this climber has been respected throughout history as a king and a lover, a woodland delight to be respected and honoured.
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Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.