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Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Japanese honeysuckle Synonyms: Nintooa japonica, Lonicera japonica var. aureo-reticulata, Lonicera japonica var. chinensis

Common Names: Chinese honeysuckle

Description: Competes aggressively below ground for nutrients and above ground for light; has been limited in past by cold winter temperatures but becoming more aggressive in southeastern Michigan; experiences much higher growth rates at higher CO2 levels than native honeysuckles.

Habit: Perennial, woody vine that can climb up to 7 m (23 ft) tall and form a thick covering over trees, shrubs and groundcover species.

Leaves: Simple, opposite, oval, young leaves often lobed, 4-8 cm (1.5-3 in) long; leaf base round/triangular; leaves are semi-evergreen to evergreen.

Stems: Hairy; reddish/light brown; woody; hollow.

Flowers: White-cream-pink in color, paired, tubular flowers arising from leafs axils along stems; fade to yellow, fragrant; blooms April through June.

Fruit and seeds: Fruits are black to purple in color, glossy, paired, producing 4-10 brown-black seeds.

Habitat: Native to East Asia. Found in open woods, old fields, disturbed areas, roadsides and fence rows; moderately shade tolerant but prefers full sun.

Reproduction: By seed and vegetatively by rhizomes.

Similar species: Native red honeysuckle (L. dioica), yellow honeysuckle (L. flava), hairy honeysuckle (L. hirsuta), and grape honeysuckle (L. reticulata) are similar but native honeysuckle vines have red-orange fruit and terminal, opposite leaves that unite at their bases (connate).

Monitoring and rapid response: Monitor open areas and woodland edges. Japanese honeysuckle retains some leaves over winter. Cutting, pulling and burning Japanese honeysuckle may weaken it but will not eliminate it. Foliar herbicide treatment provides effective control. In fire adapted plant communities, late autumn or winter prescribed burns provide effective control when followed by foliar herbicide application about a month after resprouts emerge.

Credits: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan.

Common Name:

Japanese honeysuckle

Scientific Name:

Lonicera japonica







USDA Symbol: