Rocky Mountain Honeysuckle
(Utah Honeysuckle or Red Twinberry)
Lonicera utahensis S. Watson

There are two associated with the collection. The first suggests the plant was collected on the Lolo Trail in Idaho Co., Idaho, on 16 Jun 1806. The second and more likely location was along the North Fork of the Salmon River from near the mouth of Hull Creek to near the junction of Hammerean Creek in Lemhi Co., Idaho, 2 Sep 1805. (Source)

Rocky mountain honeysuckle is a native deciduous shrub that grows 3.2 to 6.6 feet. It may form clumps. Branches are slender and spreading .   The short-petiolate leaves are elliptic, ovate or oblong in shape with subcordate bases and obtuse to rounded tips. They range from 2-8 cm and 1-4 cm wide. The upper leaf surface is glabrous with the lower surface glabrous to covered with coarse or stiff hairs. The white to whitish-yellow flowers are in pairs at the ends of the stems. The flowers are pendent and are narrow at their base and flair outwards at their openings (funnel-shaped). The base of the tube is slightly spurred. Individual flowers range from 1-2 cm  in length and are slightly two-lipped, the lobes of the corolla being slightly unequal in size. The fruit is a small, several-seeded red/orange berry. textures may be fine sandy loams to loamy sands.  It is found in the northwest North America on moist open to wooded slopes from moderate to high elevations in the mountains.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. Rocky mountain honeysuckle occurs in a continental climate that is influenced by maritime air masses or is semiarid. In central Idaho, it  may be either a major or minor seral species in different phases of grand fir/Rocky Mountain maple habitat types. Utah honeysuckle leaves expand in late March to early May. Flowers bloom April through June.. Fruits mature from June to September. Leaves drop in the fall.  Found in open Coniferous Forests, 8000-11000 feet. 

Food Uses
The fruit is used raw or cooked.. The fruit is about 1cm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses
The branches are mildly laxative. An infusion of the branches and leaves has been used as a wash on sores and infections.

Value to Wildlife:
It is valuable summer and fall browse for elk, but a minor browse species for white-tailed deer.  Moose in north-central Idaho consumed it from October through April. Grizzly bear eat Utah honeysuckle fruits summer and fall. Utah honeysuckle occurs with 14 to 80 percent frequency in various types of grizzly bear habitat in the northern Rocky Mountains. Black bear utilized Utah honeysuckle with 15 to 45 percent frequency during the summer in central Idaho. Ruffed grouse consumed Utah honeysuckle during the summer in northern Idaho. (Source)

Return to Alphabetical Listing