Common Name: Amur Honeysuckle
Scientific Name: Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder
Legal Status: Restricted

Propagation and sale of this plant are prohibited in Minnesota. Transportation is only allowed when in compliance with Minnesota Statute 18.82. Although Restricted Noxious Weeds are not required to be controlled or eradicated by law, landowners are strongly encouraged to manage these invasive plants on their properties in order to reduce spread into new areas. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.

Background

Amur honeysuckle is native to Asia. It was planted as an ornamental in New York in the late 1800s and has been widely planted for wildlife and erosion control. It has naturalized in the east and Midwest United States. The amount of Amur honeysuckle in Minnesota is likely very small, but it has not been well studied.

Description

  • Amur honeysuckle is an erect, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that can grow to 15- 20 feet in height. It can be easily confused with similar species like Morrow’s, Tatarian or Bell’s honeysuckles, all distinguished by slight differences in flower color and leaf pubescence.
  • The leaves are ovate, opposite, lightly pubescent, and 2- 3 inches long.
  • Flowers are less than 1 inch long, paired, tubular, white to pinkish, and five-petaled.
  • The fruit are spherical red to orange-red berries, developing in late summer and often persisting throughout the winter.
  • The pith of mature stems are hollow and white or tan, as opposed to native shrub honeysuckles which have solid white pith.
  • Several species of exotic bush honeysuckles occur and distinguishing between them can be difficult.
Flower, photo by John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Flower, photo by John M. Randall, The
Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Flowers, photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Flowers, photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff,
University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
ahs-plants.jpg
Plants, photo by Chuck Bargeron, University
of Georgia, Bugwood.org
ahs-bark.jpg
Bark, photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University
of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
ahs-fruit.jpg
Fruit, photo by Chuck Bargeron, University
of Georgia, Bugwood.org
ahs-berries.jpg
Berries, photo by Chuck Bargeron,
University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Habitat

Amur honeysuckle is able to grow in a range of conditions from sun to deep shade and wet to dry soils. It thrives in disturbed sites, including forest edges, woodlots, floodplains, old pastures, fields and roadsides.

Means of spread and distribution

Like other honeysuckles, the fruits are abundant and highly attractive to birds, which spread seeds to new areas. Vegetative sprouting from adventitious roots also aids in local spread.

Amur honeysuckle has invaded and naturalized in most mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. It is established in Wisconsin and a handful of individuals have anecdotally been reported in Minnesota. 

Impact

Amur honeysuckle can rapidly invade and overtake a site, shading and crowding out native species. It can alter habitats by depleting soil moisture and nutrients, possibly releasing toxic chemicals that prevent other species from growing in the vicinity, and suppressing regeneration of native tree seedlings. The growth of overstory trees can be significantly reduced by dense Amur honeysuckle in the understory. Reduced timber production may be costly. Dense infestations can locally increase the populations of ticks and the risk of tick-borne diseases.

Prevention and management

  • Do not plant Amur honeysuckle as an ornamental and remove existing plants on your property. A sound management plan is necessary to manage this species and will take a commitment of several years to ensure that the population has been eliminated.
  • Young plants can be pulled by hand. Mature plants can be removed by using a weed wrench tool or by repeated cutting. Keep in mind that physical removal in this manner can disturb soils and result in reinvasion or resprouting of honeysuckles and other exotics.
  • Prescribed burning can be an effective tool to control infestations in combination with other techniques. Spring burning will kill seedlings and the tops of mature plants. Make sure to contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to learn more about control burning practices and regulations.
  • Foliar, stem injection, and cut-stem application of herbicides that translocate their active ingredients into the root system can be very effective. Treatments will need to be repeated for several years to eradicate a population. If using herbicide treatments, check with your local University of Minnesota Extension agent, co-op, or certified landscape care expert for assistance and recommendations. There are several businesses throughout the state with certified herbicide applicators that can be hired to perform chemical applications.

Toxicity

Berries may be mildly poisonous if eaten by humans.

More information