Japanese Honeysuckle

Scientific Name: Lonicera japonica
Family Name: Caprifoliaceae

Copyright: Mara Cohen 2003

Flower: 1 – 2 in. (3 – 5 cm.) long white or light pink flowers that grow in pairs..

Leaf: 1.5 – 3 in. (4 – 8 cm.) long, opposite, ovate, untoothed, light green leaves.
Copyright: Mara Cohen 2003

Plant: 30 ft. (9 m.) tall, woody vine. Young vine stems are hairy, while older stems are can be hollow. Japanese Honeysuckle does not lose its leaves until mid-winter, and in more temperate climates, it does not lose its leaves at all.
Copyright: Mara Cohen 2003

Identifying Characteristics: Red hairy stems, with light green that are discreetly veined can identify Japanese Honeysuckle. However, it is best to wait until winter, when it will be the only leafed non-needle plant.

Location: We found Japanese Honeysuckle on Old South Street, near the Brandeis/Roberts commuter rail station.

History and Comments: Japanese Honeysuckle is native to Asia, and it was introduced to New York in 1806. It arrived in New England as an ornamental vine. Japanese Honeysuckle is highly invasive, preferring disturbed areas on the edges of forests. It chokes out native trees and shrubs, or weighs them down to such an extent that they fall. Despite its early introduction to the United States, Japanese Honeysuckle was not recognized as invasive until the early 1900's. It is particularly problematic in the South, where the weather is never cold enough to kill it.

    Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.