Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica

Scientific Name: Lonicera japonica
Common Name(s): Japanese Honeysuckle, and Hall's honeysuckle. 

INVASIVE to MAINE                                                        Images to come.                     Final Edit Needed.

Research Summary
: Tyler L.
What were your observations on doing your research. Was it difficult? Were there a lot of resources? What was surprising? What do you think are some of the most important things that you discovered?

Identifying Characteristics

  • Covered in soft fine hairs.
  • Oblong to oval.
  • 1/2 inches long.
  • Woody with short stalks.
  • Can reach 30 ft to 60 ft in length.
  • Young stems are green and round.
  • Older stems are purplish brown and smooth.
  • White and pink flowers, 1 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Lovely but strong honeysuckle smell.
  • In the fall it has small black fruit with 2-3 seeds.
  • Berries 1/4 inch wide.

Taxonomy of Species
   Scientific Classification
 What That Classification Means
 Kingdom  Plant   Many celled, don't move, absorb water through roots.
 Division  Magnoliophyta  Flowering plants.
 Class  Magnoliopsida  A flowering plant that has two leaves, or cotyledons, in the embryo of the
 Order  Dipsacales  Many flowering plants such as honeysuckle and valerian.
 Family  Caprifoliaceae  Honeysuckle family.
 Genus  Lonicera L.  Honeysuckle.
Species  Lonicera japonica  Japanese Honeysuckle.
Similar species include: Trumpet or coral honeysuckle, Lonicera dioica.

Location and Movement
Origin/ Native Range
 Eastern Asia, specifically China, Japan, and Korea.
  •  It was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1800's as an ornamental plant and also used for erosion control and ground cover.  
  • It was introduced to the U.S. on Long Island, New York in 18 62 for cultivation
Spread of Species
  • It is difficult to control because it has few natural enemies.
  • It grows rapidly in places with a lot of light such as forest edges, canopy gaps, under sparse, and open forest.
  • Vines produce stolens that root into soil and allow spread of species.
  • It is spread by people for being used for ornamental purposes and erosion control.
Where is it now invasive?  It is invasive in every U.S. state EXCEPT  AK, WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO, ND, SD, and MN.

Is this species in Maine?
Where has it been identified?
  • As of 2003, this plant has been reported from only one island location in Maine.
  • According to the plants.usda.gov site it has been found in Knox and Cumberland counties.
How was this species introduced?
 No information available.

Natural Environment
  • Likes full shade and tolerates drought and soggy soils.
  • Lives in disturbed habitats, roadsides, trails, fence-rows, abandoned fields, and forest edges.
Climate and Temperature Range
  • USDA hardiness zones 4-10.
  • Japanese Honeysuckle is less invasive in arid climates and easier to control.
  • It will spread if ignored in humid climates.
  • Grows well in areas getting more than 30 inches of rain per year.
  • Severe winter temperatures may limit spread of this species in northern latitudes.

Ecological Interactions  Primary producer.
 Absorbs water and nutrients through it's roots and makes food through photosynthesis.
Consumed By
 White tail deer, humming birds, bees, and many kinds of songbirds.

  • Crowds out native species by smothering plants, blocking sunlight and taking most of the nutrients and water found in the ground.  
  • It also wraps around the stems of other plants so water can't get through. 
  • Grows vertically and horizontally by climbing up and around any vegetation and will topple upright stems through the sheer weight of accumulated vines.
  • It's development impacts the formation of tree trunks.
 Human  Produces a toxic substance in berries that is harmful only when eaten in large amounts.
 Economic  It has little to no economic value.
  • Important food item in U.S. to white tail deer. 
  • The flowers attract humming birds and bees and the fruits are relished by many kinds of songbirds.

 Biological  None known at this time.
  • Hand pulling and prescribed burning.
  • Mowing is effective with herbicides.
  • Use native alternatives as ornamental plantings.
  • To tell nurseries to not grow and plant japanese honeysuckle, but rather use native alternatives.

 Chemical  Foliar spray such as glyphosate is only effective when green leaves are present.

Interesting Facts It is one of the most invasive plants in Florida and Tennessee.