Himalayan Honeysuckle

Latin Name: Leycesteria formosa

Fruits by nordique

Fruits by nordique

Origin: Native to western China, India, Nepal, Burma.

Alternative Name(s): Elisha’s Tears.

Family: Caprifoliaceae.

Known Hazards: None known.

Habitat: Scrub and shady forests, often by streams.

Edibility Rating: 2 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: Deciduous multistemmed shrub to 3 (rarely to 4) m high. Stems erect, hollow. Leaves ovate with pointed apex, to 15 (rarely to 24) cm long, to 8 (rarely to 12) cm wide, lower surface paler than upper surface, margins entire or shallowly toothed, on a stalk to 2 (rarely to 5) cm long. Fruits ovoid, to 10 mm long. Seeds ovoid to ellipsoid, to 1.5 mm long, brown.
Flowers: In drooping compact spikes, to 10 cm long. Flowers purple to white, to 2 cm long. Flowers mostly spring and summer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Infestation in New Zealand. Image by MollivanDistinguishing features: Distinguished by opposite leaves joined by a ridge across the stem; flowers surrounded by purple bracts, petals white to pale pink and mostly joined with 5 almost equal lobes; fruits hanging and dark crimson when ripe.

Dispersal: Spread by animal dispersed seed and water dispersal of fruit and seed.

Edible Uses

Fruit- one report said that the fruit is edible. In the better forms, the fully ripe and very soft fruit is very sweet with a treacle-like flavour, though in other forms it has a very bitter taste and is not very desirable


Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses

The hollow stems can be made into whistles and flutes.

Notes: Garden escape in moist gullies and high rainfall areas. A major weed in Mt Buffalo National Park, Victoria and considered to be an important weed in the Queenstown area, Tasmania. Also an increasing problem in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

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