Diervilla rivularis 'Morton' SUMMER STARS
Common Name: mountain bush honeysuckle
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates some drought. Wide range of soil tolerance. Spreads over time by underground stems to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Diervilla rivularis, commonly called hairy bush-honeysuckle, is a compact deciduous shrub which typically grows to 3-6’ tall. It is native to bluffs, banks, cliffs and moist rocky woods in the southern Appalachian Mountains from western North Carolina and northwestern Georgia west to eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. It is closely related to Diervilla sessilifolia, but is primarily distinguished by having densely hairy branchlets and leaf undersides.

Trumpet-shaped, two-lipped, pale yellow to greenish yellow, typical honeysuckle-like flowers bloom from June to August in crowded clusters (terminal and axillary cymes). Flowers are followed by oblong fruits (1/4” or longer). Simple, opposite, oval to elliptic leaves (1 1/2 to 4” long), featuring rounded to cordate bases, toothed margins, hairy leaves with densely hairy undersides and pointed tips, are short-stalked below becoming nearly stalkless in the upper parts of the shrub. Good yellow-red fall color.

Genus name honors a French surgeon named Dierville or Diereville who observed with great interest a North American native bush-honeysuckle growing in Canada during an extensive trip he took to that country in 1699-1700. Upon his return to France, he introduced the shrub to European culture, with the bush-honeysuckle genus eventually being named in memory of him. Linnaeus subsequently listed the observed Canadian plant as Diervilla lonicera.

Specific epithet means loving brooks in reference to preferred moist growing habitat.

The honey-like taste of the flower nectar can be enjoyed by suckling the flower, hence the common name of honeysuckle.

‘Morton’, commonly marketed under the trade name of SUMMER STARS, is a dwarf, densely branched, deciduous bush-honeysuckle that typically matures somewhat slowly to 3’ tall and 4’ wide. It was discovered growing at the Morton Arboretum near Chicago, hence the cultivar name, and was subsequently introduced into commerce by Chicagoland Grows. Trumpet-shaped, fragrant, yellow flowers (to 1” long) bloom in late spring to early summer (June-July). Pubescent, ovate to oblong-lanceolate, opposite, nearly sessile leaves are dark green. Leaves often turn attractive shades of reddish-yellow to wine-red in fall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Small hedge. Ground cover shrub. Naturalize in woodland gardens or on slopes. Shrub borders.