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A very vigorous half evergreen or deciduous climber, young shoots (in the cultivated form) reddish purple. Leaves oval or obovate, rounded at both ends or broadly tapered at the base, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, glaucous and usually somewhat downy beneath. The lower ones are shortly stalked; approaching the top they become stalkless; whilst the uppermost pairs are united at the base (connate). Flowers fragrant, at first yellowish, suffused with red, becoming deeper yellow with age; born from July onwards in terminal and axillary groups of three long-stalked heads. Corolla 13⁄4 in. long, the tube slender, sometimes glabrous, sometimes glandular, conspicuously two-lipped.
Native of the Mediterranean region; introduced probably two hundred years ago, but not often seen. At its best perhaps it is the most gorgeous of all honeysuckles, but I have not seen it at its best out-of-doors, although no doubt it may reach perfection in the south-western counties. Farther north it is hardy, but not wholly satisfactory out-of-doors; in an unheated greenhouse it is wonderfully beautiful in late summer, the long shoots branching and forming immense bouquets. The species varies very much in the amount of down on the leaves, but the form now cultivated is downy on both sides of the leaf (var. pubescens Dipp.).
While it may be true, as stated in the current and earlier editions, that L. etrusca would flourish outdoors in the south-west, it is not such a failure elsewhere as was implied. In common with many other shrubs from the Mediterranean type of climate, it appreciates the relatively greater summer heat and dryness of eastern England and might flower as well or better there than in a softer climate. David Wright (op. cit.) remarks that the best specimen known to him grows on a high south-facing wall in the Fellows’ Garden at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. L. etrusca also flowers well at Nymans in Sussex; the plant there has been propagated and the clone named ‘Michael Rosse’.
† cv. ‘Donald Waterer’. – The original plant of this clone was found by Donald Waterer near Castelnau in the Pyrenees. It flowers well with Graham Thomas in his garden near Woking in Surrey, and propagations have been distributed.