Japanese honeysuckle

Common name: Japanese honeysuckle
Scientific name: Lonicera japonica Thunb.
Synonyms: Golden and silver honeysuckle

Legal status: Prohibited Eradicate

Life cycle: Perennial
Related species: Lonicera dioica, Lonicera flava, Lonicera hirsuta
Habitat: Primarily occurs in disturbed habitats, but also found in open woods, old fields, roadsides, and fence rows. Moderately shade tolerant but prefers full sun.
Impact: Environmental, rapid growth, capable of engulfing small trees and shrubs causing their collapse. It can shade other plants in the understory choking out native species.
Native range: Eastern Asia
Means of spread: Spreads by seeds. Birds can consume fruit and disperse seeds, or it can reproduce vegetatively with vines trailing on the ground and rooting at the nodes.


Since its introduction in 1806, it has spread to Ontario, Puerto Rico, and 38 states. It was introduced to the United States from Japan for use as an ornamental plant, for erosion control, and for wildlife forage and cover. Its ornamental value comes from the prolific fragrant flowers and dense, rapid growth.


Japanese honeysuckle is a woody, twining vine that can grow 30 feet in length or more. It has opposite leaves that are ovate and 1.5 to 3 inches in length. The fruits are black to purple, glossy, and paired. The flowers are white when young and then become yellowish. The flowers are paired and tubular. The stems are hairy and reddish to light brown.


  • Mechanical: Hand-pulling, mowing (may cause resprouting), or tillage (may stimulate seed germination)
  • Chemical: Foliar herbicide treatment

Images and their description

Image preview

Characteristics described

Picture of ovate leaves oppositely opposed and are an inch and a half to three inches in length





Opposite, ovate leaves are 1.5 to 3 inches in length.

Picture of hairy or fuzzy stems that are reddish light brown in color.





Stems are hairy or fuzzy with reddish light brown color.

Picture of white flowers that are paired and tubular.

Flowers are white in color, paired, and tubular.

Picture of a twining vine that is growing thirty feet up the trunk of a tree.

Woody, twining vine that can grow 30 feet in length or more.

Picture of a Jaapanese honeysuckle infestation blanketing a river bank.

Japanese honeysuckle infestation along the Buffalo River.