Honeysuckle, Dwarf shrub

Lonicera xylosteum

Images of this species:

Common look-alikes:



Lonicera xylosteum is a perennial shrub that can reach 8-10 feet tall.


Leaves are opposite, elliptical, deciduous and 1-2.5 inches long..


Flowering occurs in May when white flowers develop in pairs in the axils of the leaves.


Fruits (when produced) are dark red berries that are eaten and spread by birds.


This is considered a watch list species.

Ecological Threat

Lonicera xylosteum has not yet become prominent on the New England landscape. However, it has the potential to form large thickets that would suppress the growth of native shrubs and herbaceous plants. More information is necessary to assess the status of this species in this region.


Native to Eurasia


Abandoned field, early successional forest, edge, open disturbed area, yard or garden. Lonicera xylosteum can be found along the edges of woods and in open canopy forests. Like the other shrubby honeysuckles, it is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and is used in for landscaping in difficult spots. It prefers full sun, but can also tolerate low light conditions.

Management Options

Mechanical Control

Hand removal of seedlings or small plants may be useful for light infestations, but care should be taken not to disturb the soil any more than necessary. In shaded forest habitats, where exotic bush honeysuckles tend to be less resilient, repeated clippings to ground level, during the growing season, may result in high mortality. Clipping must be repeated at least once yearly because bush honeysuckles that are cut once and left to grow will often form stands that are more dense and productive than they were prior to cutting. 

Chemical Control

Seedlings of exotic bush honeysuckles can also be controlled by application of a systemic herbicide, like glyphosate (e.g., Roundup®), at a 1 percent solution, sprayed onto the foliage or applied by sponge. Well established stands of exotic bush honeysuckles are probably best managed by cutting the stems to ground level and painting or spraying the stumps with a slightly higher rate of glyphosate (2-3%).

  • Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work.

  • Always read and follow pesticide label directions. Application of pesticides may require a certification from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Agency website provides information on what applicator certification is needed.


Photo Credit

Dwarf Shrub Honeysuckle, 5451120, 5451111, 5451145, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Western While Honeysuckle, 5458869, Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Information Credit 

Plant Conservation Alliance®s Alien Plant Working Group

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England

Center For Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health