Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese Honeysuckle - Lonicera japonica

General Description
This is a creeping or climbing woody vine that forms dense, tangled thickets in floodplains, forest edges, and fields. Japanese honeysuckle engulfs small trees and shrubs, which collapse under the weight. Few plants survive beneath the dense canopy of this vine.

Identification
Simple oval-shaped opposite leaves are 1 ½ to 3 inches long. In this region, leaves are semi-evergreen. Young stems are reddish-brown and usually are pubescent. Older stems are hollow and lack hair, with brown bark that peels in long strips. Mature stems are usually 6 to 10 feet long. The white flowers are fragrant.

This plant is distinguished from native honeysuckle vines by its upper leaves, which are distinctly separate, while those of native honeysuckle vines are fused to form a single leaf.

Origin
This honeysuckle is native to Asia.

How It Spreads
Prolific fruits are highly attractive to birds. Abundant seeds are eaten by birds and widely dispersed.

Control Methods
Smaller plants may be hand pulled from April through September as long as the entire stem and root systems are removed. If entire root systems are not removed, underground rhizomes will re-sprout.

Chemical control can be conducted from mid-April through October. Since Japanese honeysuckle will remain green after most other plants have lost their leaves, it is best to apply herbicides when native species are dormant but temperatures are sufficient for plant activity. Herbicide may be sprayed on the foliage or applied directly to a cut stump.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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