Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica
Family: Caprifoliaceae
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Whole Plant
Invasive Species


Angiosperm, Dicot, evergreen

  • vine able to climb 10 meters in trees
  • leaves 3-8 cm long and 2-3 cm wide
  • berries 5-8 mm in diameter

Identifying Features:

  • climbing vine
  • younger sections of the vines will be covered in fuzz
  • opposite oval-shaped green leaves
  • double tounged, trumpet shaped, and sweet smelling white or yellow flowers - grow in pairs between leaves
  • newer flowers are white, and become yellow as they age
  • black berries


  • originally native to eastern Asia
  • currently inhabits most states in the south- and central-eastern U.S.
  • it grows best in disturbed areas including: roadsides, open banks, forest edgles, managed forests, and old fields.


  • Honeysuckle is a angiosperm. It spreads both through vegetative(plant growth) and sexual(seed production) means.
  • Rhizomes, underground stems, spread the plant locally. Honeysuckle also develops vegetative runners(stolons) that then develop separate root systems where they come in contact with the ground. Stolons also grow when a plant has sustained severe stem cambium damage.
  • Japanese honeysuckle's flowering season is late spring. It is a xenogamus plant, meaning it requires cross-pollination. It's pollination is pollinator limited. It's pollinators are insects and hummingbirds. Research in Japan suggests that flowers often do not open until nightfall in order to conserve pollen for its most effective pollinator: the nocturnal hawkmoth. Seeds germinate best when exposed to light.
  • The berries are 5-8 mm in diameter and contain numerous seeds. Seeds are dispersed by birds and small mammals.

Water/Sun Requirements:

  • Japanese Honeysuckle can live in the shade, but will establish and grow most quickly in full or partial sunlight.
  • It has medium drought tolerance.

Special Adaptations:

.Japanese Honeysuckle is fire resistant; it is top-destroyed by fire, but survives. It regenerates tissue from surviving stem tissue. Sprouting from post-fire damage may result in a colony more prolific than the original one.

Other Info:

  • Other common names for Japanese Honeysuckle are: Chin Yin Hua, Chin Yin T'Eng, Honeysuckle, Jen Tung, Jen Tung Chiu, Jen Tung Kao, Sui-Kazura, Yin Hua, Hall's Honeysuckle, White honeysuckle, Chinese honeysuckle, Halliana
  • Japanese honeysuckle is an evergreen or semi-evergreen depending on the area it inhabits.
  • Japanese honeysuckle was introduced to North America in the 1800s as a ground cover and ornamental plant. It was first planted in New York in 1806. It is now an extremely invasive and damaging species in the U.S. It crowds out native species and kills shrubs and trees by growing tightly around the trunk, damaging xylem and phloem and cutting off the flow of water through the plant (girdling). Several states ban its importation and/or classify it as a noxious weed.
  • Honeysuckle is edible. Leaves can be parboiled and buds and flowers made into a syrup or pudding. However, saponins in honeysuckle are toxic to some animals. Some tribes have traditionally put them in lakes or streams in order to kill or stupefy the fish.
  • Pest Problems: aphids, scale insects
  • Fungus Problems: powdery mildew, leaf spots
  • Disease Problems: blight

Reference Sources/Links:

Maine Invasive Plants
PCA Alien Plant Working Group
Alternative Nature
MICHAEL WEINBERG PHOTOGRAPHY- Flowers of the United States
Forestry Service
Backyard Gardener
Created by Sarah P. 2007