Orange honeysuckle, Lonicera ciliosa (Pursh) Poir. Ex DC.


Perennial vine, prostrate or twining climber to 6 m long, leaves opposite, oval, 4-10 cm long, deciduous, dull green above glabrous white below with ciliated margins. Flowers orange-yellow to orange-red 2.5-4 cm long born on verticals pollinated by hummingbirds. Fruit orange-red translucent, several-seeded berries 1 cm wide. (1,4,5)









©1997 John Game, NPDC @ PLANTS




Wide-spread western North American native found from sea level to mid- elevations. (1,4,6)


Climate, elevation


Pacific maritime climate from sea level to 1000 m (sometimes up to 3500 m) as well as shadier, cooler locations of the western interior. (1,4,6)


Local occurrence


Common throughout Puget Sound in open forests, forest clearings, forest edges, thickets, and hillsides. (4)


Habitat preferences


Partial to full shade in well-drained soils especially in forest edge ecotones. (1,4)




Plant strategy type/successional stage


Not specifically noted in literature however given orange honeysuckle’s preference for forest edges it may be an early to mid seral species that tolerates the particular disturbances of the forest edge and therefore could be considered a ruderal.


Associated species


Widely associated with both broadleaf deciduous and coniferous forests throughout its range. Commonly found locally beneath big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western red cedar (Thuja plicata), and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). Often found associated with edge associated shrubs such as snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) and vine maple (Acer circinatum). (personal observation)


May be collected as:


Seed – ripens August-September, macerate with water to float off pulp or sow whole fruit for same season seeding. (2,3,7)


Cuttings – Vigorous softwood, hardwood cuttings or naturally layered sections of prostrate stems. (2,3,7)


Salvage – salvaged mature plants may be slow to recover. (2,3,7)


Collection restrictions or guidelines


Typical conservative collection methods for genetic integrity and minimal ecosystem impact apply.


Seed germination


Seed maybe slow to germinate without a three month cold stratification. (2,3,7)


Seed life


Not noted in literature.


Recommended seed storage conditions


Not noted in literature but typical low temp, low humidity conditions may apply.

Propagation recommendations


Hardwood cuttings can be treated with root hormone and stuck in pots of sand outside. A closely related species of similar growth habit also found in the same locations and conditions, hairy honeysuckle, Lonicera hispidula, is rooted in flats in typical 1:1 vermiculite:perlite media and regularly misted in a greenhouse. Softwood cuttings should be placed in typical vermiculite:perlite rooting media and kept humid conditions with bottom heat.  Rooted cuttings are ready for installation after the first year. (2,3,7)


No specific mention of seed propagation methods are made for L. ciliosa beyond sowing whole fruits outdoors in the fall and that greenhouse propagated seeds require a three month cold stratification. L. hispidula seeds are soaked for 24 hours in fresh water and then cold stratified in peat: perlite for three months. Germinated seedlings are then sown in flats with a standard seedling media and potted up after emergence into standard potting media. (2,3,7)


Salvaged individuals have been noted to be slow to recover. Survival and recovery speed may be increased by nurturing in greenhouse conditions before outplanting the next season. (2,3,7)


Soil or medium requirements


None specifically noted other than that mentioned above.


Installation form


Whole fruit can be directly sown into the field. Greenhouse raised germinants and rooted cuttings are ready for outplanting after one year. Salvaged plants may be installed but may not successfully recover. (2,3,7)



Recommended planting density


Not noted in literature. Orange honeysuckle is a twining, rambling vine that can cover a considerable area therefore wide spacings of 2 m or more might be appropriate.


Care requirements after installed


Not noted in literature. Orange honeysuckle is not tolerant of saturated conditions but under dry conditions after installation may need occasional watering.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan


Not specifically noted in literature. Orange honeysuckle seems to be a moderately fast grower with a moderate lifespan of unspecified length


Sources cited



(1)     Hitchcock, C. Leo and Cronquist, Arthur. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. 1998. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.


(2)     Leigh, Michael. Grow Your Own Native Landscape. 1999. Washington State University Cooperative Extension – Thurston County, WA.


(3)     Native Plants Journal and Network. http://www.nativeplantsnetwork.org


(4)     Pojar, Jim and McKinnon, Andy, eds. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. 1994. Lone Pine Press, British Columbia.


(5)     Royal British Columbia Museum. http://rbcm1.rcbm.gov.bc.ca/nh_papers/nativeplants/lonicili.html


(6)     USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov) National Plant Database Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


(7)     Young, James A. & Young, Cheryl G. Collecting, Processing and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Plants. 1999. Timber Press, Portland OR.


Data compiled by


Rodney Pond 05.07.03