Forage Friday #12 Japanese Honeysuckle

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Japanese Honeysuckle 5319” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

*Some honeysuckle plants that are found in North America are toxic. Always get a positive ID on the plants and do further research before trying any plant for the first time. Forage Friday is only intended to be an interesting conversation starter and is not a replacement for proper training.

The breeze carries a sweet scent as I approach the edge of the forest. The long vines trail and climb and twist through the underbrush. The vine itself is adorned with slinder tubular flowers. Butterflies dance about from flower to flower following the bees. They know that the flowers sweeten their nectar in the bee’s presence. They also know that their long straw-like mouth parts can reach deep into the flowers to get to the nectar that the bees can’t find. I have a different solution for harvesting a treat. I pinched a flower down at the base and pulled it free from the vine being careful not to lose the sweet liquid in the process. The nectar can simply be sucked out of the other end.

That’s the way I learned to enjoy Japanese Honeysuckle as a child. I’m not really sure when I learned that candy grew on vines or who I learned how to do it from. I only have a vague memory of pulling the flowers and sucking out the nectar.

As I became more interested in how to harvest and use things from the wilderness I learned that in traditional Chinese medicine they make a cough syrup from the plant and that the leaves are used as a potherb. We don’t eat many cooked greens at my house so I never bothered with the leaves myself.

There’s a lot of medicinal uses listed for honeysuckle as well as some potential side effects. As I’ve said before I have no formal training beyond what I picked up in forestry classes which were geared towards harvesting lumber and replanted the forest. With that in mind I’m providing a link to WebMD for their expertise.

I also need to address some feedback that I got from last Friday’s post on Yarrow. I stated on Facebook that Yarrow was NOT an edible plant. Which drew some constructive criticism from a few members of the group.

First, it’s awesome that members of the wild edible community are able to make counterpoints and keep it respectful. That’s the mark of a high quality individual. Kudos to Niki, Niamh and Marquis and thank you for your support and passion for living a more natural lifestyle.

The point was made that these folks have used Yarrow internally and experienced no negative effects. From what I got in their comments they only used it in limited quantities and for various reasons. I still maintain that Yarrow should not be used in large quantities or for extended periods of time but I felt that their experience was worth mentioning and that they all three deserve recognition for the awesome manor in which they addressed their disagreement. Thank you again for your interaction.

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