Do you love flowers and gardening? If so, then honeysuckle may not sound new to you. They’re famous for their sweet scent and sweet nectar that attracts bees and birds. However, sometimes nature can be confusing. There are several flowers that look like honeysuckle, sometimes not only in appearance but they also produce a sweet smell and sweet nectar.
Even so, not all these flowers are edible or can be used the way you used honeysuckle, making it important to know the difference between honeysuckle and their look-alike counterparts.
What does honeysuckle look like?
Honeysuckles or Lonicera are native to temperature zones of both hemispheres. They are often planted in Canada, Asia, and Eastern Europe. With more than 180 species, honeysuckles are a type of ornamental flower and climbing plant from the family Caprifoliaceae. The blooming time is between spring and summer.
They produce trumpet-like, elongated tubular flowers and can grow as tall as 10 to 20 feet and as wide as 3 to 6 feet. Honeysuckle is a perennial plant that has a shallow root system. The leaves range in color from green to yellowish-green, based on age and season. You can expect a fruity aroma with hints of honey and ripe citrus. These easy-to-grow flowers range from yellow, and creamy white, to shades of pink, or purple, depending on which species.
What are the benefits of honeysuckle?
As luscious as their aroma, honeysuckle also provides us with many benefits. People have been using honeysuckle as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant since they are rich in chemicals like quercetin, hydroxycinnamic acids, flavonols, and hydroxybenzoic acids.
Cited from the National Library of Medicine, honeysuckle is also a good food source to minimize the adverse effects of UV rays, as well as diabetes mellitus and neuron or cardio-related illnesses. If you dried honeysuckle flowers, you can brew and make them as tea. And if you’re looking for a perfect gift for your loved one, honeysuckle essential oil can be the right choice!
Do you often have skin problems such as rosacea, acne, skin irritation, and eczema? Thanks to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, from now on you can add honeysuckle extract to your skincare regime.
Do you need something to beautify your house, garden, or even workspace?
You can include honeysuckle in your vase. They make an astonishing look whether you’re adding them with flowers like roses or lilies. Those are just a few benefits you can get from honeysuckle.
List of flowers that look like honeysuckle.
With approximately 320.000 species of plants out there, distinguishing flowers that look like honeysuckle from real honeysuckle could be challenging. Whether similar in morphology or scent, here we will guide you on how to tell these plants apart.
1. Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)
The first plant that looks like honeysuckle in our list is the evergreen and gorgeous Angel’s trumpet flower.
Once native to South America, sadly, angel’s trumpet is no longer available in their native habitat. These yellow, pink, and reddish-orange flowers produce various fragrances that smell like musk, citrus, jasmine, lily, lemon, mint, or even gardenia.
But don’t get tempted by their smell since all parts of angel’s trumpet, including their roots, are poisonous and contain chemicals like scopolamine and hyoscyamine. They’re often mistaken as honeysuckle because of the similar flower shape and both plants produce a sweet smell.
2. Privets (Ligustrum spp.)
These invasive weeds are native to North Africa, Asia, and Europe with small trumpet-like white flowers. Like honeysuckle, they usually attract birds with their fresh spring and honey-scented aroma. Same to the angel’s trumpet, privets, both its flowers and its fruits, are toxic and are not safe to eat.
3. Native Viburnums
The third flowers that look like honeysuckle are native viburnums. They secrete a fragrant, almost vanilla-like scent when blooming in spring. With large white flowers, in contrast to their green leaves, and blue-red berry-like fruits, native viburnums are a tasty snack for most birds!
4. Basil Bergamot (Monarda clinopodia)
Widely known as white bee balm, basil bergamot is a perennial herb that can grow as tall as 1 to 2 meters. This species has white flowers shaped like a tube with several pollen tubes that also attract animals like hummingbirds. They have a citrus aroma with a hint of spiciness, almost like oregano or thyme, and look like the white smaller version of honeysuckle.
5. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Broadly used as an herb plant to relieve stress and anxiety, lemon balm is part of the mint family. Equal to their name, lemon balm has a lemony smell. This small-flowered plant has a high value for money since they only produce a small amount of oil.
6. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
It’s recommended that you use purple coneflower as an alternative to honeysuckle. They both churn out gorgeous fragrance flowers, and sweet nectar, which is highly valuable and also not difficult to grow. Look at your cough and cold syrup, you may also find purple coneflower as one of the ingredients since they’re famous to treat those illnesses.
7. Bee Balm or Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
This species is in the same Lamiaceae family as basil bergamot, only different in color. Bee balm has purplish-pink color and grayish-green edible leaves. They can be used for medical purposes or as a consumable garnish for your favorite salad.
8. Western White Clematis or Old Man’s Beard (Clematis ligusticifolia)
The unusual appearance of their long hair-like, white-colored seed heads resembled an old man’s beard. Just like honeysuckle, western white clematis has several stamens, the pollen-producing segment, per flower. But
be cautious, even though these creamy white flowers attract birds with their fragrant scent, western white clematis are toxic to humans. Making them one of the toxic counterparts of honeysuckle.
9. Smooth Azalea or Sweet Azalea (Rhododendron arborescens)
Sweet azalea is a native plant to the eastern seaboard of the United States, often growing in moist areas like near river banks or mountains. These lily-like flowers are notable for their highly sweet fragrance with colors of white, orange, yellow, to pale pink. However, consuming even just a small amount of smooth azalea can cause severe poisoning.
10. Dogwood (Cornus)
Also called Virginia State Flowers, dogwood is one of the most mesmerizing bushy evergreen trees you’ll ever see. From afar, their small four-petaled flowers grow all over the tree making dogwood look like something that comes out of a fantasy world. Like all its previous peers, this North American native provides meals for most animals since all parts are edible, but not for humans.
11. Musk Larkspur (Delphinium brunonianum)
These hairy light blue and bluish-purple flowers bear the meaning of youth and renewal. Musk Larkspur’s natural habitat can spread as far as around the Himalayas, Tibet, Nepal, to Central Asia. They usually grow up to 20 centimeters or around 0.6 feet, with a strong musky aroma.
12. Fragrant Columbine (Aquilegia fragrans)
Our next bush that looks like honeysuckle is fragrant columbine or sweet-scented columbine. They belong to the family Ranunculaceae and typically grow as high as 12 to 18 inches tall. It has yellowish-white fragrance flowers and on average is easy to grow. Nevertheless, they are poisonous, especially the seeds. Again, making them the poisonous version of honeysuckle.
13. Chuparosa or Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle (Anisacanthus thurberi)
It would be a little bit challenging to find Thurber’s desert honeysuckle since their natural habitat is limited to only Arizona and New Mexico.
On average they can grow above 6 feet tall with orange, reddish-orange, or yellowish-orange tubular flowers. In Spanish, the word “chuparosa” means rose-sucker, hence why these flowers attract animals like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees who like to consume its nectar.
14. Dutch Clover or White Clover (Trifolium repens)
Dutch clover is a type of perennial plant that is attractive to bees. In their native habitat, which is Europe, they can grow up to 0.50 feet high with elongated, oval-like white petals. They are non-toxic and have been harvested as medical and food plants.
15. Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)
Do you know that our last flowers that look like honeysuckle, in contrast to their name, are at the conversation status of threatened? It’s because their territory is limited to only Quebec and Southwestern Ontario, making deforestation one of their worst enemies.
Common hoptree has yellowish-white flowers and three glossy green leaves on each stem that smell like citrus. Another fun fact is, the common hoptree is also the house of giant snowball butterflies, a rare species of their kind.
Both honeysuckle and flowers that look like honeysuckle offer us many advantages. Although not all these plants are safe for humans, they are still part of a good source of food materials for animals, and also contribute to maintaining our Earth’s ecosystem.