Friday, May 27, 2011


These pictures of honeysuckle vines were taken about two weeks ago down Williams Wharf Road, where I sometimes go to walk  run a 5K wearing a crab hat jog.

Honeysuckle has a very sweet scent and, of course, a very sweet taste, particularly the yellow blooms.

When we were kids my sisters and I flocked to the honeysuckle vines eager to taste the sugary sweet nectar.

We still don't ever get out  didn't get out much back then and thus became adept at finding pleasure and amusement in the simplest of things. I still do.

The tradition continues. My son and daughter also don't get out much except this weekend when they'll be in New York City while their mother stays behind working night and day to meet her book deadline appreciate the fine art of sampling honeysuckle.

For the uninitiated, the process of extracting the nectar is easy but not exactly obvious if you've never done it.

First, you must select a flower.  If I were choosing from the vines above, I'd go straight for the yellow flowers because they're older and sweeter. Just like me!  Sometimes I r-e-a-l-l-y crack myself up.

Once you've picked the flower from the vine, pinch off the end, put it to your lips, and savor that ever-so-tiny  drop of nectar.

In a quick Google search on the topic, I discovered that honeysuckle has many healing properties and contains tannins that are being studied as a possible treatment for HIV.  Also, certain species produce toxic berries, while others have poisonous leaves.  However, some people boil the leaves for medicinal purposes.

So, to be clear on CBW's official stance on honeysuckle leaves?  They either kill you or heal you, there appears to be no middle ground on the issue.  Be sure your health insurance cards are handy and consult your doctor before you heed any home remedy advice from this blog start harvesting honeysuckle leaves for a salad.

On this particular website, I read the following with a great deal of interest:

"Honeysuckle is also known as woodbine. It twists and coils as the ivy does. Beautiful yellow flowers entwine with the leaves. Its scent is very cloying and sweet.  The honeysuckle shows the way in which to achieve the search for the self. Honeysuckle indicates hidden desires, secrets and the path to the search for the self."

All this from honeysuckle?

Who knew.


Anonymous said...

"...And a flower shall heal them..."
As a child, I was lucky to also live in places where honeysuckle was abundant. Something beautiful, aromatic, with a sweet nectar secret.A treasure for a child, where no money need be exchanged to enjoy a treat, no adult necessary to procure it. I too enjoyed tasting the nectar, and the rarefied atmosphere of just being in the natural world.
We are all pulling for you to get to your deadline with the work completed.

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

I wonder why none of my friends back in the days of my misspent youth ever tried smoking honeysuckle....they smoked everything else.

Oh well, the vines out behind the house are in full flower now and it sure is nice when the breeze is blowing the right way and that's the first thing i smell when i pry my eyes open in the morning!

Kay L. Davies said...

When I was a child, I liked to eat clover blossoms, and I also enjoyed hiding in the big, big lilac tree and sucking that one drop of nectar that's hidden in each tiny little lilac blossom.
However, I will never look at my honeysuckle in quite the same way now, and I will always be wondering... what if?
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Bethie said...

I always enjoyed the tiny drop of honeysuckle nectar. I love the fragrance.

This year we made jellies from our "weeds"...dandelion, violet and clover.

Deltaville Jamie said...

Cloying seems like such a nice word but it isn't. I love honeysuckle and so do both of my darling children. Though Midge has been known to break out in hives after "eating" too much nectar.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

What lovely sentiments behind these comments already this morning! Such a nice surprise.

Thanks for reading and for sharing your memories.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Jamie-"Cloying" is so close to "annoying," which very adequately describes how syrupy/sweet honeysuckle's almost too sweet.

growing wild on waverly lane said...

They should make a May Cove perfume out of that! Maybe they did. I once saw the brand on sale in the gift shop at Jeffersons home in Charlottesville. Chesapeake Bay Grandfather and Jo Rixey started the company in the sixties.

These Nine Acres said...

I still can not walk past a honeysuckle vine without treating myself to a few buds! Thanks for bringing back great memories!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I am a life long fan of honeysuckle too. Funny I posted on honeysuckle today as well. There's a whole lotta honeysuckling going on. It's that time of year!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Apparently, I missed a whole part of my growing up! I never knew you could savor honeysuckle nectar. And lilac nectar, Kay, really? Who knew?

I do, however, remember walking along my country road in early June and picking and eating wild strawberries that were growing there.

foolery said...

Boy, did I miss out as a kid. We chewed Johnson grass. That's about it. And it tasted awful -- but somehow compelling. Now I need therapy.

Anonymous said...

Grandma J said...

I still like to suck the nectar out of the honeysuckle blooms!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Anonymous/mer-As usual you've picked an excellent song. I watched a documentary on her a while back and was riveted. Good choice for this post!

Maria_NJ said...

while on my walk the other day, I noticed that the honeysuckle here is not in bloom yet, buds but no flowers...

I hope your children have a wonderful weekend..

don't work too hard