Honeysuckle Family

Hairy Honeysuckle © KKorbholz

Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee)

Iconic Features

    • Usually opposite leaves
    • Flowers often bell-shaped or tubular
    • Inferior ovary
    • Fleshy fruit

    Description (Jepson)

      • Shrub to small tree or vine; evergreen or deciduous
      • Eudicotyledons (eudicots) – a major lineage of flowering plants including most plants traditionally described as dicots and generally characterized by
        • 2 seed leaves (dicotyledon)
        • Netted (reticulate) leaf venation
        • Flower parts in fours and fives
        • Pollen grains with 3 pores (tricolpate)
        • Vascular bundles in stem arranged in a ring
        • Taproot system
      • Stem core is pithy (like styrofoam)
      • Leaves
        • Simple (not divided into leaflets) or compound (divided into leaflets)
        • Opposite (2 leaves at each junction with stem)
        • Lack stipules (pair of leaf-like structures at the base of the leaf stalk)
      • Flowers
        • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) in many forms, with flowers often in pairs
        • Bisexual flowers often bell-shaped or tubular
        • Flower parts in fives: usually 5 small fused sepals (protective cover for bud), 5 fused petals, and 5 stamen (male flower parts), attached to the petals
        • Ovary inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
      • Fruit is a berry (a usually multi-seeded fruit with a fleshy ovary wall) or a drupe (a fleshy fruit with usually 1 seed in a hard inner shell — a stone fruit)


        • Approximately 220 species worldwide
          • Includes snowberries and honeysuckles
        • Stem core is pithy (like styrofoam)
        • Scientific name from the included genus Caprifolium (now Lonicera), from the Latin caper, “goat,” and folium, “leaf”
          • The common name for honeysuckle in German, French, and Italian also means “goat leaf,” suggesting that honeysuckles may be a favorite food of goats
        • Several traditional members of this family, including elderberries (Sambucus), viburnums, and twinflower (Linnaea), have been moved to other families
        • Represented by 4 species at Edgewood

        See General References

        Browse Some Edgewood Plants in this Family