florida Early Detection Network


Bell's honeysuckle, Bella honeysuckle


Lonicera x bella Zabel


Honeysuckle family


Lonicera x bella

Branch with flowers

Flower close-up

Fruit on branch

Species comparisons: Left: L. morrowii, Center: L. x bella, Right: L. tatarica



Synonyms: None


Botanical Glossary

Lonicera bella is the hybrid of L. tartarica and L. morrowii. Identification of this plant is difficult because of its many intermediate characteristics. Lonicera bella tends to be a taller plant than either of its parents, and can reach 6 m (20 ft.) in height. The young stems of this plant are hollow and are sparsely pubescent. The oppositely leaves are slightly pubescent on their lower surface. The leaves are ovate to ovate-elliptic in shape, measuring 3-6 cm (1-2.5 in.) long. The leaf bases are rounded or subcordate. Due to the presence of backcrossed individuals, the characters of the flowers of Lonicera bella are quite variable. The flowers of Lonicera bella are usually pink in color, often fading to yellow. They measure 1.5-2 cm (0.6-0.75 in.) in size. The flowers are on peduncles that are longer than the subtending petioles, measuring approximately 1 cm (0.4 in.) long. The outside of the corolla of the flower is usually glabrous. The bracteoles are half as long as the ovary when the flower is fully open. Flowers appear on this plant from May to early June. The berries are spherical, red in color and found in pairs. The fruit ripen in late summer or early fall. The seeds are rather flat and ovate in shape. Page References Bailey 943, Fernald 1333, Gleason & Cronquist 509, Holmgren 478, Magee & Ahles 963, Newcomb 294. See reference section below for full citations.


Lonicera morrowii Gray (Morrow's honeysuckle), L. tartarica L. (Tartarian honeysuckle), L. maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Amur honeysuckle), L. xylosteum L. (Dwarf honeysuckle) Lonicera spp. (Native bush honeysuckles). One way to differentiate between the invasive bush honeysuckles and the native ones is that the invasive honeysuckles all have hollow stems, while the stems of the native ones are solid.


The fruits of Lonicera bella are dispersed by birds.


Since the parent plants of Lonicera bella have native ranges that do not overlap, this hybrid was first observed in botanical gardens in Europe. In the United States, it has been reported from the Northeastern states, south to South Carolina and west to Minnesota and Illinois. This plant has been observed in all the states of New England.


The history of introduction of this plant is related to the history of introduction of L. morrowii and L. tatarica. Deliberate hybridizations of this plant were made in Russia before 1889. It is not clear whether the hybrid was deliberately introduced or if the parents were introduced and the parents then hybridized in the United States.


Abandoned Field, Early Successional Forest, Edge, Floodplain Forest, Open Disturbed Area, Pasture, Planted Forest, Roadside, Utility Right-of-Way, Vacant Lot, Yard or Garden. Like its parents, Lonicera bella is adaptable to a wide variety of habitats ranging from open forests to fields and roadsides. It can tolerate various moisture and light regimes as well.


The "hybrid swarm" of L. morrowii, L. tatarica and L. bella causes a complicated situation in natural habitats. Regardless of which plant is actually present, all of these plants form dense stands that can suppress the growth of native species of plants. Thus, ecologically, these plants all appear to be very similar in their effects.


Virginia Native Plant Society

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group Invasive Plant Management Guide

Illinois Natural History Survey General description and management guidelines.

Plant Conservation Alliance Fact sheet with management information


Documentation required: A specific photograph of a close-up of the flowers or mounted snippet of the flowers. Best time for documentation: Late spring.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System Taxonomic information

The PLANTS Database General information and a map

Plant Conservation Alliance Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles.

Virginia Native Plant Society Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Description and control information

Wisconsin State Herbarium Image and brief description about this plant in Wisconsin

Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide Pictures and descriptive information on L. maackii, L. morrowii and L. tartarica.

Virginia Tech Dendrology Description and photographs


Bailey, L. H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.

Barnes, W.J. and G. Cottam. 1974. Some autecological studies of the Lonicera x bella complex. Ecology 55: 40-50.

Converse, C.K. 1985. Element Stewardship Abstract for Lonicera tatarica, L. Morrowii, and L. X bella. The Nature Conservancy. Unpublished document.

Dirr, M.A. 1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 5th ed. Stipes Publishing, Champaign, Illinois.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.

Gleason H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Holmgren N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Magee D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Nyboer, R. . Vegetation Management Guideline: Bush Honeysuckles - Tatarian, Morrow's, Belle, and Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica L., L. Morrowii Gray, L. X bella Zabel, and L. Maackii [Rupr.] Maxim.). Natural Areas Journal 12(4): 218-219.

USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.