Orange Honeysuckle, BC Coastal Region
The south coast has only a handful of true climbing vines and the Orange Honeysuckle is the prettiest of them all. Orange honeysuckle lives as a branching vine twining its way up shrubs and trees to heights of 7 m. Once the vine reaches sun the stem begins to split and eventfully forms a cascading mantle over any supporting tree or shrub or sometimes growing up a rock face on a bluff. This is an incredible sight to see.
The opposite paired, green leaves surround the flower cluster and are very impressive. These are joined at the base and form a oval saucer like structure.
Bright orange flowers cluster at the end of a short stalk within the leaf saucer. There may be as few as 1 bloom or as many as 25 in a cluster, depending upon the vitality of the plant.
The flower consists of a narrow 4 cm long tube attached to a tiny green sphere, the ovary. Near the base of the flower tube there is a pouch that collects sweet nectar, an offering for hummingbirds who play a major role in pollinating these plants. Blooming time is late spring and early summer. Bright red juicy berries replace the fertilized flowers.
Orange honeysuckle favors the southern parts of British Columbia, ranging from south eastern Vancouver Island, from Campbell River south, onto the mainland as far east as Creston.
First peoples from the Interior of B.C. would weave the stem fibers of orange honeysuckle with other fiber materials into blankets and capes.