Black twinberry (lonicera involucrata)

Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata, or bearberryTwinberry honeysuckle) is a medium-height shrub with straggly or erect stems. Reaching up to three meters in height, it is similar to the Utah honeysuckle (Lonicera utahensis) but has more lance-shaped leaves. Young shoots are characterized by their distinctive square cross section, and the leaves are oppositely arranged, with lance-shaped to elliptical leaves, some of which are hairy underneath. It produces yellow, elongated bell shaped flowers with five lobes, up to two centimeters long. The flowers are paired on the leaf axil, and have purple-green bracts supporting them. It produces black, shiny berries in ‘twins,’ cupped by two larger, maroon-deep purple bracts, almost like flowers; they are not pleasant to eat. Many taboos surround the twinberry’s inedible taste, some indigenous groups even going so far as to say they caused the consumer to become mute.

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