Honeysuckle in the Cemetery
Honeysuckle or Woodbine
Our own native honeysuckle is found throughout Ryde cemetery. The common name comes from the Old English hunigsuge or ‘honey-suck’, because the ‘honey’ (or nectar) can be sucked from the flowers. It is also known as woodbine which later became the name of a popular brand of cigarettes which were said to smell as sweet as woodbine! (Doubtful!)
The large wheel-shaped flower-heads are made up of rings of curved, almost tubular shaped individual flowers which open cream and quickly deepen to yellow sometimes becoming pink. The plants are vigorous twiners that climb rapidly up trees and other shrubs and the scent is powerful and sweet.
Honeysuckle is also one of the oldest medicinal herbs in known history. European honeysuckle was once used widely to treat urinary complaints, asthma, and during childbirth. In traditional Chinese medicine, honeysuckle has been used medicinally for millennia where it is seen as a key herb for releasing poisons from the body and clearing heat from the body. Honeysuckle is also said to protect gardens from evil and to symbolise a true lover’s embrace with its clinging growing habits. However the honeysuckle berries are poisonous.
An old country belief is that if the honeysuckle blossom is brought into the house a wedding will follow within the year.