Honeysuckle, Vine

Lonicera japonica

Images of this species:

Common look-alikes:



Lonicera japonica is a woody perennial, evergreen to semi-evergreen vine that can be found either trailing or climbing to over 80 feet in length. Young stems may be pubescent while older stems are glabrous.


Leaves are opposite, pubescent, oval and 1-2.5 inches long. Margins are usually entire but young leaves may be lobed or toothed.


Flowering occurs from April to July, when showy, fragrant, tubular, whitish-pink flowers develop in the axils of the leaves. The flowers turn cream-yellow as they age.


The small shiny globular fruits turn from green to black as they ripen. Each fruit contains 2-3 small brown to black ovate seeds.


This species is Quarantined: Class B Noxious Weed



Native to Japan and Korea


It thrives in a wide variety of habitats including fields, forests, wetlands, barrens, and all types of disturbed lands. Occurs as dense infestations in forest margins, right-of-ways, and forest canopies. It is shade tolerant.

Life cycle

Japanese honeysuckle is a deciduous woody vine in cold climates. It can be seen flowering from June to August. Small black berries are produced containing 2-3 seeds. Spread occurs by rooting at vine nodes and animal dispersal of the seeds.

Ecological Threat

It spreads and out-competes native plant species. Its evergreen to semi-evergreen nature gives it an added advantage over native species in many areas. Shrubs and young trees can be killed by girdling when vines twist tightly around stems and trunks, cutting off the flow of water through the plant. Dense growths of honeysuckle covering vegetation can gradually kill plants by blocking sunlight from reaching their leaves. Vigorous root competition helps it spread and displace neighboring native vegetation.

Management Options

Mechanical Control

For small patches, hand-pull seedlings and young plants when the soil is moist, holding low on the stem to remove the whole plant along with its roots. Monitor frequently and remove any new plants. For large patches, repeated mowing combined with herbicide application is effective. Burning removes above ground vegetation but does not kill the underground rhizomes, which will continue to sprout.

Chemical Control

For effective control with herbicides, healthy green leaves must be present at application time and temperatures must be sufficient for plant activity. Several systemic herbicides (e.g., glyphosate and triclopyr) move through the plant to the roots when applied to the leaves or stems and have been effective on Japanese honeysuckle. Treatment in the fall, when many non-target plants are going dormant, is best. Repeat applications may be needed.

  • 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

5453418, 5453504, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

5493280, William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

5549353, Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

5493282, William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

Information Credit 

U.S. Forest Service 

Bugwood, second link