[Tweeters] (My) Worlds Tallest Honeysuckle Vine

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign15 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 6 13:09:24 PDT 2019

This is yet another Post adding to what I suppose could be a series that I qualify at the start with (My). Like "(My) Worlds Smallest Moth”, largest icicle, largest evergreen Huckleberry, etc. This gets me off the hook for really having to prove anything, just describe what I come across.

Back in Spring of 2014 I made my move to Port Townsend and really started exploring the place. Back then I wrote a post entitled “ A Vine For Our Clime” wherein I mentioned the many honeysuckle vines I'd noticed around here. But That was back in March when honeysuckle's weren't blooming yet. I presumed them to be Orange honeysuckles ( Lonicera cilosa) which was the species I was familiar with at the time. And indeed they are very common here. But I hadn't yet met the Purple honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) AKA Hairy honeysuckle which prefers the slightly drier climate here in PT. It’s the truly abundant honeysuckle here which I found out later in the summer.

Orange honeysuckle blooms mostly in May and the Purple species afterwards mostly in June and July but it does exhibit some autumnal recrudescence - I saw some blooming last week. Back in July I found them- both blooming together each climbing up the other In the West Quimper Forest-a pretty sight.

In my snoops around the area this year I've had my eye out for the tallest growing honeysuckle in town and around. I think the winner was a Purple out at Fort Flagler but there's some Close competitors at Fort Worden. The literature variously describes the heights to which these vines typically grow. I’ve read 6 m, 20 feet sometimes 30 feet with the Orange honeysuckle getting more climbing credit. But I've found that's Purple climbs higher. The tallest Orange honeysuckle come across at Fort Worden is probably about 30 feet.

The tallest Purple honeysuckles I've seen are about 65 to 75 feet up in the firs. Admittedly my measuring technique at this point is a little vague. Out at Fort Flagler with the clear view of the Vine and the fir trunk I used funky visualization techniques basically imagining my old front yard that I've been landscaping this Spring and summer which is 50 feet across and standing it on end in my mind Plus dividing the treetrunk up into what I think are fairly accurate sections, and coming up with an altitude of around 70 to 75 feet. I know it sounds flaky but I do have a fairly good sense of these things.

The purple honeysuckles at Fort Worden were in bloom, really spectacular, up on top, about 60 to 65 feet I estimated. Hummingbird Heaven. It was then that I came up with what I feel was a semi brilliant idea. Looking at the top of the vines from below through my binoculars I got a good sharp focus then without changing the focus I looked Down the road at an object along the road that was in focus and paced over to it. After a few decades of landscape work I have developed pretty accurate pace. And after a few tries with some variation I came up with height of about 60 feet or so.

It was at this point that I had the sarcastic notion that" there's probably an app for all of this" measuring stuff and indeed I later found out that you can get app for about two bucks to Measure treeheights, diameters, etc. and stuff with your cell phone.

Sometimes with my Parkinson's I Have a tough time buttoning my shirt -I need a friend. There's no app for that.

Jeff Gibson
Can’t prove anything
Port Townsend, wa

PS: the honeysuckles are now showing lots of showy red berries, apparently poisonous to humans not sure about birds.

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