Many people enjoy reading. Since I am a visual person and have the attention span of a gnat, I tend to read field guilds. When you spend way too much time pouring over the images in these guides, they tend to stick to your brain. So when you come across something in the field that you are used to seeing in a book, it is like seeing a famous person walking down the street and it is kind of surreal.
A similar experience I recently had was with a plant that I saw many times in gardens, including my own garden, but never saw in the wild. The plant is Lonicera sempervirens (the common name is Coral Honeysuckle or Trumpet Honeysuckle). Most importantly, it is a native honeysuckle.
Last week, a coworker of mine said he wanted a honeysuckle for his home and was going to pull some from the woods. I begged him not to do that because the woods are full of the dreaded Lonicera japonica, an invasive honeysuckle that is reeking havoc on our forests. So we discussed where he could purchase some native honeysuckle and the happy ending to the story is that he did. This got me thinking that I actually never saw the beloved native honeysuckle in the wild. It had to exist somewhere, but where?
A few days after all of the above thoughts and events, I was wandering around a local prairie and there, stretching high up to the sky and snuggling up below against all its neighbors was the magnificent Coral Honeysuckle in the wild! What a treat!