Dwarf honeysuckle
European fly honeysuckle


Lonicera xylosteum L.


Honeysuckle family


Lonicera xylosteum


Immature Fruit


Mature fruit


Synonyms: None


Botanical Glossary

Lonicera xylosteum is a woody, perennial shrub that is 1-2 m (3-7 ft.) tall. The pubescent stems of this plant are hollow. The oppositely arranged, gray-green leaves are are usually obovate in shape, but can be ovate or oval; they are broadest beyond the middle. The apex of the leaf is usually obtuse, but can be acute and the base of the leaf is subcordate to narrowed. The upper leaf surface is glabrous when mature while the lower leaf surface is pubescent. The leaves measure 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 in.) in length. The yellow-white flowers are borne in pairs on peduncles that are longer than the petioles. The corolla of the flower is pubescent and conspicuously 2-lipped. The flowers appear in late May to early June. The fruit are scarlet, spherical berries that are borne in pairs. They usually measure 6 mm (0.25 in.) in diameter and ripen in the late summer to early fall. Page References Bailey 944, Fernald 1333, Gleason & Cronquist 509, Holmgren 479, Magee & Ahles 963, Newcomb 104. See reference section below for full citations.


Lonicera x bella Zabel (Bell's honeysuckle)
L. morrowii Gray (Morrow's honeysuckle)
L. tartarica L. (Tartarian honeysuckle)
L. maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Amur honeysuckle) Link to the key of exotic honeysuckles The key above does not include the 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 fruit of Lonicera xylosteum, similar to the other shrubby honeysuckles, is dispersed by birds.


The native range of Lonicera xylosteum is in Europe, east to Turkey and the European part of Russia. In the United States it has been reported from all the northeastern states, south to Virginia, and West to Missouri and Minnesota. It has also been reported in Oregon. Lonicera xylosteum has been reported from all of the New England states.


Lonicera xylosteum has long been cultivated, and there is no known date for its first introduction into this country. It was most likely introduced for use as a horticultural plant, and spread via plantings and bird dispersal.


Abandoned Field,Early Successional Forest,Edge,Floodplain Forest,Open Disturbed Area,Pasture,Planted Forest,Roadside,Utility Right-of-Way,Vacant Lot,Yard or Garden

Lonicera xylosteum can be found along the edges of woods and in open canopy forests. Like the other shrubby honeysuckles, it is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, and is used in for landscaping in difficult spots. It prefers full sun, but can also tolerate low light conditions.


Lonicera xylosteum has not yet become prominent on the New England landscape. However, it has the potential to form large thickets that would suppress the growth of native shrubs and herbaceous plants. More information is necessary to assess the status of this species in this region.


Virginia Native Plant Society

Plant Conservation Alliance
Fact sheet with management information


Documentation required: Herbarium specimen or mounted snippet of the branch with flowers.
Best time for documentation: Spring, summer


Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Taxonomic information about the species

PLANTS Database
General information and map

Plant Conservation Alliance
Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles

Virginia Native Plant Society
Fact sheet on the bush honeysuckles

University of Connecticut Plants Database
General information and many photographs


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

Britton, N.L. and A. Brown.  1970.  An Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States vol. 3.  Dover Publications Inc., New York. 

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.

Newcomb N. 1977.  Newcomb's Wildflower Guide.  Little Brown, Boston.

Nyboer, R. 1992. Vegetation management guideline: Bush honeysuckles: Tatarian, Morrow's, belle, and amur honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica L., Lonicera morrowii Gray, Lonicera X bella Zabel, and Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Maxim.). Natural Areas Journal 12(4): 218-219.

Rehder, A.  1940.  Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs, 2nd ed. MacMillan Publishing Company, New York. 

USDA, NRCS.  2001.  The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (  National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.