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Perfoliate Honeysuckle

Lonicera caprifolium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
180 centimetres tall
Gardens, heathland, hedgerows, scrub, walls, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 2 petals
Creamy-white flowers, about 5cm long. Flowers appear in terminal clusters. The upper lip is 4-lobed. 5 stamens per flower.
The fruit is an orange berry.
A climbing shrub with stalked, bluish-green, oval, smooth, hairless leaves. The upper leaves are perfoliate. The leaves appear in opposite pairs along the stems.
Perfoliate Honeysuckle is a fragrant shrub.
Other Names:
Caprifole, Caprifoly, Early Cream Honeysuckle, Goat Honeysuckle, Goat-leaf Honeysuckle, Italian Honeysuckle, Italian Woodbine, Lily-among-thorns, White Italian Honeysuckle.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Lonicera caprifolium, also known as Italian honeysuckle or perfoliate honeysuckle, is a species of honeysuckle that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a deciduous climbing vine or twining shrub that can grow up to 20 feet long. The leaves are opposite, glossy, and dark green, and the plant produces fragrant, tubular flowers that are typically pink or white in color. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, and are followed by small, black berries that are attractive to birds.

Lonicera caprifolium is a popular garden plant and is often used for climbing walls, fences, and arbors. It is hardy, easy to grow and tolerant of most soil types, but it does prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is also valued for its ornamental and ecological value, it is often used in wildlife gardens and as a naturalizing plant in woodlands and hedgerows. The plant can be invasive in some areas, so it is important to keep an eye on its growth and to prune it as necessary.


Perfoliate honeysuckle, also known as Lonicera caprifolium, is a deciduous shrub that is native to Europe and western Asia. This plant is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive flowers, which bloom in late spring to early summer.

Physical Characteristics

Perfoliate honeysuckle can grow up to 6 feet in height and 5 feet in width. Its leaves are opposite and are attached to the stem by a flattened stem tissue that forms a complete circle around the stem, hence the name "perfoliate". The leaves are green, ovate to lanceolate in shape, and can grow up to 3 inches long. The flowers of perfoliate honeysuckle are tubular in shape, with five petals that are white to pink in color. The flowers are borne in clusters at the ends of the branches and are highly fragrant, attracting bees and butterflies.

Growing Conditions

Perfoliate honeysuckle is an adaptable plant that can grow in a range of soil types, from well-draining to heavy clay soils. It prefers moist, well-draining soils and full to partial sunlight. The plant is hardy to USDA zones 4 to 8, making it a suitable plant for a range of climates.


Perfoliate honeysuckle can be propagated from softwood cuttings taken in the summer or hardwood cuttings taken in the winter. The plant can also be propagated by layering or by dividing established plants.


Perfoliate honeysuckle is grown primarily as an ornamental plant for its attractive flowers and foliage. It can be used as a shrub border or as a specimen plant in the landscape. The plant is also used in traditional medicine, with the flowers and leaves being used to treat various ailments such as coughs and colds.

More Information

Perfoliate honeysuckle has been cultivated for centuries and has a rich history of use in both ornamental and medicinal contexts. The plant is sometimes referred to as Italian honeysuckle, as it is believed to have originated in Italy before spreading to other parts of Europe and Asia.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, perfoliate honeysuckle is also valued for its ecological benefits. The plant attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The berries of perfoliate honeysuckle are also a food source for birds, making it a valuable addition to wildlife gardens.

However, it should be noted that perfoliate honeysuckle can also be invasive in some regions, particularly in North America. The plant has been known to escape cultivation and spread into natural areas, where it can outcompete native vegetation. For this reason, it is important to research local regulations and best practices before planting perfoliate honeysuckle in your garden or landscape.

In terms of care, perfoliate honeysuckle is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It should be watered regularly during dry periods and pruned in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged branches. The plant can also benefit from a slow-release fertilizer applied in the spring.

In traditional medicine, perfoliate honeysuckle has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, fever, and inflammation. The flowers and leaves of the plant are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of perfoliate honeysuckle.

In addition to its medicinal properties, perfoliate honeysuckle is also valued for its fragrance. The flowers have a sweet, citrus-like scent that is particularly strong in the evening, making it a popular choice for gardens and outdoor spaces where its fragrance can be enjoyed.

Perfoliate honeysuckle can also be grown as a climbing vine, using trellises or other supports. This can make it a useful plant for covering unsightly walls or fences, or for creating a natural privacy screen. When grown as a vine, perfoliate honeysuckle can reach heights of up to 20 feet or more.

Finally, perfoliate honeysuckle can be propagated by seed, although this method can be somewhat unpredictable. It is best to propagate the plant through cuttings or by dividing established plants to ensure that the new plants are true to type.

In summary, perfoliate honeysuckle is a versatile and attractive plant that offers a range of benefits for both humans and the environment. Whether grown for its ornamental value, its medicinal properties, or its ability to attract pollinators and wildlife, perfoliate honeysuckle is a valuable addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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