A rare and elegant deciduous shrub honeysuckle from China, first described in 1883 and subsequently introduced into UK horticulture by Roy Lancaster in 1983 from specimens found in the mountainous areas of western Hubei province.
Lonicera elisae grows wild in forests and scrub from about 500m to 2300m altitude in south-west Anhui, south-east Gansu, Hebei, Henan, western Hubei, Sichuan and north west Zhejiang, in other words, throughout central China
Lonicera elisae is most noted for it delightful late winter to early spring flowering, at which time it produces a fine display of clusters of narrow, tubular sweetly fragrant creamy-white flowers with a rosy flush at the base. It may seem perverse for any plant to flower in winter but in common with other winter flowering shrubs such as Lonicera purpusii or Sarcococca, the plant is seeking to attract moths, which are drawn to fragrance rather than the more visual cues followed by bees and butterflies. Perhaps surprisingly there is no month in the UK, including the depths of winter, when there are no moth species active, a remarkable achievement for a supposedly cold-blooded creature!
The foliage of Lonicera elisae emerges after the end of the flowering period, and a soft purple on emergence and then maturing to a mid green.
Lonicera elisae is planted full sun or lightly dappled shade in moist but well drained soil. Cut out old wood in late spring to encourage new flowering wood which will ripen and form buds during the current year.. Fully hardy. H: 1-2m
introduced to cultivation in the west by Roy Lancaster from Western Hubei in 1983.
An extremely rare and lovely shrub, Lonicera elisae has a compact, upright habit and masses of delicate pale white, tubular flowers which appear on the branches in late winter. The new leaves are dark purple in colour turning to green as they age later in the year.
A medium sized garden shrub with beautiful flowers, Lonicera elisae grows best in a sunny, sheltered position. Lonicera elisae is named after Elisa Bailly de Vilmorin, wife of Louis de Vilmorin, as in Sorbus vilmorinii
Attractive Purple flushed shoots and leaves, dark green upper and blue green beneath turning deep crimson maroon in autumn. Red berries