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Common Name: Himalayan Honeysuckle
Leycesteria formosa is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 2.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
E. Asia - China to the Himalayas. An occasional garden escape in Britain.
Scrub and shady forests, often by streams, to 3000 metres[
Succeeds in most fertile soils, preferably of a woodland nature[
]. In Britain it grows better in full sun than in shade[
]. Tolerates limy soils[
]. Tolerates urban pollution, maritime conditions and windswept locations[
], though not full maritime exposure[
This species is hardy to -15°c[
], it can be cut to the ground in severe winters but usually resprouts from the base[
The flowers, which are delicately scented, are borne at the end of the current season's growth[
Birds, especially pheasants, are very fond of the fruit[
]. Plants frequently self-sow when growing in suitable conditions[
Plants do not normally need pruning though weak shoots can be cut back to ground level in the spring in order to encourage more vigorous growth[
Fruit? - one unconfirmed report said that the fruit is edible. In the better forms, the fully ripe and very soft fruit is very sweet with a treacle-like flavour, though in other forms it has a very bitter taste and is not very desirable[
The hollow stems can be made into whistles and flutes[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late autumn[
]. Very easy when done this way[
], it germinates in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer or following spring. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification and can take more than a year to germinate. Sow it as soon as possible in a cold frame.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame. Plant out in spring. Good percentage[
Cuttings of mature wood, 20 - 25cm with a heel, planted in open ground in autumn. Good percentage[
Cuttings of greenwood in spring in a frame[
Division in autumn[
]. Very simple, plant the divisions out direct into their permanent positions.