Habitat Champion: Black Twinberry

The underrated Black Twinberry is a habitat champion when it comes to birds. I hope you can fit one into  your yard!

Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) is a fast-growing deciduous shrub that grows to about 9’. In the sun, it grows full and fat; in mostly shade, taller and lanky. It thrives in moist to wet soil, equally at home in soppy winter soil or in garden soil that holds some moisture, either with the help of organic mulch or soil that is a little bit on the clay-ey side.

An extremely valuable wildlife habitat plant, its small, paired, trumpet-like yellow flowers bloom mid-spring to mid-summer, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Two shiny black berries form; as they ripen, the bracts (petal-like leaves) which hold them turn a striking scarlet-purple. Birds love the berries, but the fruit is inedible for humans.

Beside a stream or on a wet hillside, Twinberry’s roots do a good job of anchoring the soil against erosion.