General: Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). Twinberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata) is an erect clustered shrub one to three meters high with freely exfoliating bark (Peck 1961). The leaves are opposite, short-stemmed, somewhat elliptical to broadly lanced shaped, pointed often hairy beneath (Pojar & MacKinnon 1994). The flowers are yellow, tinged with red, and cupped by a large pair of green to purplish bracts. The fruits are roundish or oval, blackish berries, paired on long axillary stalks and distinct; ripening August or September (Grimm 1993).
Distribution: Lonicera involcrata is widely distributed across North America from Quebec westward to Alaska and British Columbia and southward into California, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (McMinn 1939). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
twinberry, black twin-berry, four-line honeysuckle, bearberry honeysuckle
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Sympetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 3. 596 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1707
- Fernald, M. 1950. Manual (ed. 8) i–lxiv, 1–1632. American Book Co., New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1327
- Munz, P. A. & D. D. Keck. 1959. Cal. Fl. 1–1681. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1717
- Munz, P. A. 1974. Fl. S. Calif. 1–1086. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1719
Twinberry honeysuckle is typically found in moist forests, clearings, riparian habitats, swamps and thickets (MacKinnon, Pojar & Coupe 1992). It prefers a good moist soil but can succeed in any fertile soil. This species grows best and produces abundance of fruit in open sunlight compared to a lost of fruit when grown in the shade.
Propagation by Seed: Lonicera involucrata seeds should be collected from isolated plants and extracted by maceration in water (Dirr & Heuser 1987). Sow the seeds as soon as they are ripe in a cold frame. When the seedlings are large enough, plant them directly into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Lonicera involucrata
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lonicera involucrata
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Please consult the Plants Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
Somewhat available from native plant nurseries. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”
Twinberry honeysuckle berries has been noted as poisonous. The fruit is bitter and sour and are eaten by some. Since the European species of honeysuckle species are regarded as emetic and cathartic, they are better avoided in favor of something less dubious (Mozingo 1987).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Twinberry honeysuckle is considered toxic and should be used with caution.
Ethnobotanic: The Quileute and Kwakwaka’wakw people used these berries as a black pigment (Pojar & MacKinnon 1994). The Haida rubbed the berries on the scalp to prevent hair from turning gray (Ibid.).
A decoction of the bark has been applied to a woman’s breasts to encourage milk flow (Moerman 1998). An infusion was used to treat chest and stomach complaints and to cleanse the body (Ibid.). The Carrier boiled the leaves and used the liquid to bathe sore eyes, or applied the crushed leaves as a poultice to open sores (Pojar & MacKinnon 1994).
Lonicera involucrata (Bearberry Honeysuckle, Bracted Honeysuckle, Twinberry Honeysuckle, Twin-berry, Black Twinberry) is a species of honeysuckle native to northern and western North America, from southern Alaska east across boreal Canada to Quebec, and south through the western United States to California, and to Chihuahua in northwestern Mexico. It grows at elevations from sea level to 2,900 m.
It is a large shrub that can grow 0.5–5 m high, with shoots with a quadrangular cross-section. The leaves are elliptic, to oval-shaped, 3–16 cm long and 2–8 cm broad; they are hairy along the margins and on the underside, and have a distinctive abruptly acuminate tip. The flowers are yellow, tubular, hairy, 1–2 cm long, and are monoecious; they are produced in pairs subtended by a pair of reddish basal bracts 2–4 cm across. The fruit is a 6–12 mm diameter black berry containing several small seeds;
- Lonicera involucrata var. involucrata. Most of the species' range, except as below; in California only in the Sierra Nevada. Leaves thin; flowers yellow.
- Lonicera involucrata var. ledebourii (Eschsch.) Jeps. Coastal California and southern Oregon. Leaves thick, leathery; flowers tinged orange to red outside.
Cultivation and uses 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lonicera involucrata|
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Lonicera involucrata
- Plants of British Columbia: Lonicera involucrata
- Jepson Flora: Lonicera involucrata
- BorealForest: Lonicera involucrata
- Jepson Flora: Lonicera involucrata var. involucrata
- Jepson Flora: Lonicera involucrata var. ledebourii
- Blanchan, N. (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.