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Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
9 metres long
Gardens, hedgerows, mountains, scrub, wasteland, woodland.

Purple, 2 petals
Purple-tinged, pale yellow flowers with 2-lipped tubular petal-tubes. Pollinated by moths.
A black, globular berry, about 4mm in diameter.
The leaves are in opposite pairs along the stem. They are pointed, oval in shape and between 3 and 8cm long. Reddish shoots when young.
The flowers are sweet-scented, smelling like vanilla.
Other Names:
Golden-and-silver Honeysuckle.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Lonicera japonica, also known as Japanese honeysuckle, is a species of honeysuckle that is native to Japan, Korea, and China. It is a deciduous or evergreen climbing vine that can grow up to 30 feet long. The leaves are opposite, glossy, and dark green, and the plant produces fragrant, tubular flowers that are typically white or yellow in color. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, and are followed by small, black berries that are attractive to birds.

Lonicera japonica 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. However, it can be invasive in some areas, so it is important to keep an eye on its growth and to prune it as necessary.

It is considered as an invasive species in some countries, because of its vigorous growth habit and ability to outcompete native plants. It is important to be aware of the local regulations before planting this species, and to consider non-invasive alternatives.


Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a beautiful and fragrant vine that is native to East Asia. It was introduced to North America in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant, but it quickly spread throughout the continent due to its ability to grow quickly and aggressively. Today, it is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Australia.

Appearance and Characteristics

Japanese honeysuckle is a climbing vine that can grow up to 30 feet in length. Its leaves are oval-shaped and grow in pairs along the stem. The plant produces fragrant, tubular flowers that are typically white or yellow in color, and bloom from May to September. The flowers are followed by small, black berries that are loved by birds.

The plant is well-known for its sweet fragrance, which attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. However, the plant's aggressive growth habit can quickly choke out other plants and even trees. It is also able to adapt to a wide range of soil types and light conditions, making it difficult to control.

Cultural Significance

Japanese honeysuckle has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is believed to have a variety of health benefits, including treating inflammation, promoting wound healing, and reducing fever. In Japan, the plant is used to make a traditional tea called "kampo," which is said to have a calming effect on the mind and body.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Japanese honeysuckle is also used in landscaping and as a decorative plant. Its fragrant flowers and ability to climb and cover walls, fences, and trellises make it a popular choice for gardens and parks.

Controlling Invasive Species

While Japanese honeysuckle may be a beautiful and fragrant plant, its invasive nature can have negative impacts on native ecosystems. The plant can outcompete and displace native species, leading to a loss of biodiversity. It can also alter soil chemistry, leading to changes in nutrient cycling and other ecosystem processes.

To control the spread of Japanese honeysuckle, it is important to prevent its introduction and spread in the first place. This can be done by avoiding planting it in gardens or near natural areas, and by removing it if it is already present. In some cases, chemical herbicides may be used to control the plant, but this should be done carefully to minimize the impact on other plants and animals in the area.

Japanese honeysuckle is a beautiful and fragrant plant that has cultural significance and is popular in landscaping. However, its invasive nature can have negative impacts on native ecosystems. To protect native species and maintain biodiversity, it is important to prevent the spread of Japanese honeysuckle and to control it if it is already present. By doing so, we can help preserve our natural heritage and ensure a healthy ecosystem for future generations.

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In addition to its impacts on native ecosystems, Japanese honeysuckle can also have economic impacts. The plant can grow rapidly and cover structures such as buildings, bridges, and utility poles, leading to costly damage and maintenance issues. It can also reduce property values and make it difficult to sell or develop land that is infested with the plant.

Efforts to control the spread of Japanese honeysuckle are ongoing, with many organizations and individuals working to remove the plant from natural areas and prevent its introduction in new locations. This includes public education campaigns, community-based removal programs, and government regulations on the sale and transport of invasive species.

Despite its invasive nature, Japanese honeysuckle continues to be a popular plant for landscaping and ornamental purposes. However, there are many alternative plants that can provide similar benefits without the risk of invasiveness. By choosing native or non-invasive plants for our gardens and public spaces, we can help protect our natural ecosystems and maintain their beauty and diversity.

The impacts of Japanese honeysuckle are not limited to just natural ecosystems and the economy. The plant can also impact human health. Japanese honeysuckle can cause allergic reactions in some people, with symptoms ranging from mild skin irritation to respiratory issues. In addition, the plant can serve as a host for ticks, which can carry diseases such as Lyme disease.

To protect ourselves and our communities from the negative impacts of invasive species like Japanese honeysuckle, it is important to stay informed and take action. This can include learning about the plants that are invasive in your area, participating in removal efforts, and supporting policies that regulate the sale and transport of invasive species.

Overall, Japanese honeysuckle is a complex plant with both positive and negative impacts. While it is loved for its beauty and fragrance, it is important to be aware of its invasive nature and take steps to prevent its spread. By working together to protect our natural ecosystems and promote healthy, sustainable environments, we can help ensure a bright future for ourselves and generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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