Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees


Leycesteria Formosa-Himalayan Honeysuckle - Flowering Nutmeg - Elisha's Tears - Pheasant Berry.

Although, the hardy deciduous shrub from the Himalayas, Leycesteria Formosa, is commonly called Himalayan Honeysuckle, it is only distantly related to Lonicera.

Another major difference is that Leycesteria is more like Bamboo in habit, than the Honeysuckle, as the plants hollow stems grow to almost two metres in height and only last a few years before dying back to be replaced by new shoots from the roots. It is perhaps this ability to re-shoot that has made it an invasive weed in Australia and New Zealand, but it has not become a pest in England where it has lost much of its Victorian popularity. Leycesteria is also happy in most conditions and will even tolerate salt, so is one of the few plants that do well in seaside conditions.

Plants can be propagated by cuttings or divisions and will self set from their own seed produced in useful, edible berries that are extremely popular with birds, such as Blackbirds and especially pheasants here in the U.K. hence its common name of the Pheasant Berry. The red/purple/black berries are produced in the Autumn and need to be at the correct stage of ripeness to be properly appreciated, or else they can be unpalatable. Bees love to pollinate the smallish white trumpet like flowers, held in long racemes, that are attached to bright purple bracts making it a very desirable plant even with its propensity to multiply. The Leycesteria Formosa is slowly becoming more readily available though the cultivation of new varieties and recent attempts to popularise the species in Britain.

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