Leycesteria formosa

Leycesteria formosa

''Leycesteria formosa'' is a deciduous shrub in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Himalaya and southwestern China. It is considered a noxious invasive species in Australia, New Zealand, the neighboring islands of Macronesia, and some other places. It is not yet considered a noxious invasive species in Canada or the United States, but many plants with the common name "Honeysuckle" are.

The plant was named by Nathaniel Wallich, director of the Calcutta Botanic Garden after his friend William Leycester, a judge in the native court in Bengal

It has soft, hollow, upright green stems 1–2 m tall, which only last for 2–5 years before collapsing and being replaced by new stems from the roots. The leaves are opposite, dark green, 6–18 cm long and 4–9 cm broad, with an entire or wavy margin. The flowers are produced on 5–10 cm long pendulous racemes; each flower is small, white, subtended by a purple bract. The fruit is a soft purple-black berry 1 cm diameter, eaten by birds which disperse the seeds.

''L. formosa'' became a popular plant in Victorian shrubberies. Attempts have been made in recent years to repopularise the species in Britain with new cultivated varieties appearing in garden centres.

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