ORRIN MORRIS: Wild trumpet honeysuckle a spectacular visual wonder for artists

Psalm 104:24 moves me to pray "O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions."

Too often we are so busy with the bright colors of our communication devices that we neglect to see the natural beauty about us. Every day during spring and summer the earth is covered in beauty. Yes, you may call them weeds, but they are flowering plants. They are free. They are gifts from the loving Creator.


Lonicera sempervirens

The trumpet honeysuckle is a spectacular visual wonder for artists and people who appreciate art. It easily catches one's eye because when red and green are paired together a vibrancy occurs.

Think of the color wheel. It starts with red and moves to orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Three are primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. The other three are secondary colors.

When a primary color is matched with its opposite secondary color on the wheel a degree of visual vibration occurs: yellow to purple, blue to orange, or red to green. The most active vibration occurs between red and green. Thus the flowers for today achieve a special visual effect.

The wild trumpet honeysuckle, also called coral honeysuckle, is native to North America. Throughout our county, many of the plants can be seen climbing mailboxes or garden fences. This plant is rather easily transplanted and has responded well to cultivation.

The bright red flowers average 2 to 3 inches long. These trumpet shaped flowers have five petals that separate ever so slightly at the "mouth" of the bloom. Each flower has five stamens and one pistil. The inside of the corolla is yellow.

The flowers sprout from the center of an unusual leaf that is fused around the end of the vine or branch, as pictured. A spike rises and one or two clusters of flowers spread around the nodes. The other leaves along the vine are ovate and in opposite pairs.

Trumpet honeysuckle's blooming season generally runs from April through early fall. In the late summer and early fall, the fruit ripens.

These orange or red berries were eaten by American Indians and my source books say they are rather tasteless. I do not intend to test this fact for myself, and I do not suggest it for you, either.

We are also told that American Indians made a juice from the leaves as a treatment for sore throat and they dried the other leaves as an ingredient in an herbal tobacco smoked by persons suffering from asthma.

May you repeat Psalm 104:24 as a prayer this coming Lord's Day, "O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions."

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. This column is included in a two-volume set of books of wildflower columns he has published. To purchase the books, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers.