E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lonicera involucrata (Richardson) Banks ex Spreng.
black twinberry (bearberry honeysuckle; twinberry honeysuckle)
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Paul Dawson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #88479)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Lonicera involucrata
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Lonicera involucrata var. involucrata


Black twinberry is a deciduous species of shrub that is found across North America. In British Columbia, it is commonly found in the lower two thirds of the province. Habitat includes moist forests and thickets with moist nitrogen-rich soils (Douglas et al. 1998, Klinka et al. 1989). It is tolerant of fluctuating groundwater levels (Klinka et al. `989). It is readily identified by the yellow tubular flowers that occur in pairs, and the black shiny berries.

Species Information

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Deciduous, erect to straggly shrub, 0.5-5 m tall; young twigs 4-angled, greenish, glabrous; older stems with yellowish-grey, shredding bark.
Opposite, short-stalked, elliptic to oblanceolate or broadly lanceolate, 3-16 cm long, 2-8 cm wide, entire, rounded or tapered at base, abruptly sharp-pointed at tip, pale and glabrous or somewhat hairy beneath.
Inflorescence of short-stalked pairs of flowers cupped by large (2 - 4 cm across) involucres of 2 pairs of fused bracts, on 1-4 cm long stalks in leaf axils; corollas tubular bell-shaped, yellow, 1-2 cm long, glandular hairy on outside, scarcely 2-lipped with 5 roughly equal lobes above; corolla tubes with short thick spurs at bases.
Berries, shiny black, 0.8-1.2 cm across, paired, loosely surrounded while young by paired bracts, which darken and redden (to purplish-maroon) as they recurve from the maturing fruits.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist forests and thickets in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in BC south of 58degreeN; N to YT, E to PQ and S to MI, WI, NM, CA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lonicera involucrata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 1065 2460
Slope Gradient (%) 0 12 235
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 3 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(6), BG(9), BWBS(388), CDF(32), CWH(256), ESSF(1667), ICH(1260), IDF(405), IMA(1), MH(1), MS(951), PP(9), SBPS(252), SBS(2975), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen­rich soils (Moder or Mull humus forms). Tolerates fluctuating groundwater tables. Widespread in boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; scattered to plentiful in the open or in broad-leaved forests on water-receiving (alluvial, floodplain, seepage, and stream-edge) sites and on water-collecting (swamps and fens) sites. Persists on cutover sites where it may hinder natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. A nitrophytic species characteristic of alluvial floodplain forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References