COMMON NAME

Japanese honeysuckle
Hall's honeysuckle


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lonicera japonica Thunb.


FAMILY NAME COMMON

Honeysuckle family


FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lonicera japonica


IMAGES


Incursion

Lobed leaf form

Incursion

Flowers close-up

Habit

Pollinator on flower

Fruits Close-up

NOMENCLATURE/SYNONYMS

Synonyms: Nintooa japonica (Thunb.) Sweet


DESCRIPTION

Botanical Glossary

Lonicera japonica is a perennial, woody vine that can reach 9 m (30 ft.) in length. The young stems are hairy, while the old stems can be glabrous and hollow. The leaves are opposite, 4-8 cm (1.5-3 in.) in length, dark green and glabrous above and slightly pubescent underneath. They are usually ovate with entire margins, but young leaves can be lobed or toothed. In the south this plant is evergreen, but in the north it is semi-evergreen, and can lose its leaves in midwinter. The extremely fragrant flowers of Lonicera japonica are white (can be pinkish) and fade to yellow as they age. The flowers are borne in pairs on solitary axillary peduncles that are 5-10 mm (0.2-0.4 in.) long. The corolla of the tubular flowers is bilabiate and 3-5 cm (1-2 in.) long. The flowers are pubescent without. The berries are black or dark purple and 5-6 mm (0.2 in.) in diameter. Within the berries are 2-3 brown to black ovate seeds that are each 2-3 mm long. One side of the seed is ridged, while the other is flat or concave. Page References Bailey 942, Fernald 1334, Gleason & Cronquist 709, Holmgren 479, Magee & Ahles 962, Newcomb 108, Peterson & McKenny 128. See reference section below for full citations.


SIMILAR SPECIES

Lonicera sempervirens L. (trumpet honeysuckle) Picture of L. sempervirens
Lonicera spp. (shrub honeysuckles)


REPRODUCTIVE/DISPERSAL MECHANISMS

Lonicera japonica is mainly dispersed by birds that eat its fruits. The plant also spreads locally via runners.


DISTRIBUTION

Lonicera japonica is native to China, Japan and Korea. It has been reported from the majority of the United States with the exception of the Pacific Northwest and the northern plains. Lonicera japonica is present in all of the states of New England.


HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND

Lonicera japonica was first introduced into Long Island, New York in 1806 as a horticultural plant. Hall's honeysuckle, which is a vigorously growing variety, was also introduced into New York in 1862. Despite the early introduction, the plant was not recognized as a problem until the early 1900s. In the southern states, where this plant is particularly rampant, it was not mentioned in "Chapman's Flora of the Southern States" in 1884 or the 6th edition of Gray's Manual of Botany in 1889. This plant was likely introduced into New England by intentional planting in gardens, and spread outside of cultivation by birds. Its first collection was in Maine in 1907.


HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND

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

Lonicera japonica is often an early successional species in disturbed sites. It is found along the edges of forests, in floodplains, and can be a dominant understory plant in early successional forests. This plant grows best when it has full sun and rich soil, but is shade tolerant and can survive in poor soils.


THREATS

Lonicera japonica is an extremely vigorous grower and can cover trees and understory shrubs. Its dominance of the understory prevents native tree seedlings and herbaceous plants from growing. The leaves of L. japonica are semi-evergreen to evergreen, which allows them to photosynthesize much longer than many native species and gives the plants a competitive edge. Lonicera japonica also competes with other vegetation below ground. The weight of the vines can help to bring down trees. In the south, this plant is a major problem. As it gets further north, it can still form large stands, but appears to be limited to some extent by the cold and appears to be more common near the coast.


MANAGEMENT LINKS

Illinois Natural History Survey
General description and management guidelines

Plant Conservation Alliance
Fact sheet including management information


DOCUMENTATION NEEDS

Documentation required: A photograph of the habit or the flowers.
Best time for documentation: Spring, summer, fall.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Taxonomic information

PLANTS Database
General information and map

University of Connecticut Plants Database
Description and pictures of the plant

Virginia Tech Dendrology
Description and photographs

National Invasive Species Information Center
Links to more information


REFERENCES

Andrews, E.F.  1919.  The Japanese Honeysuckle in the Eastern United States.  Torreya 19(3): 37-43.

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

Baars, R. and D. Kelly.  1996. Survival and growth responses of native and introduced vines in New Zealand to light availability. New Zealand Journal of Botany 34(3): 389-400.

Britton, N.L. and A. Brown.  1970.  An Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States vol. 2.  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 edition.  American Book Company, New York.

Fire Conference 2000.  Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop: The Role of Fire in the Control and Spread of Invasive Species. The First National Congress on Fire Ecology, Prevention, and Management.  Tall Timbers Research Station, Miscellaneous Publication No. 11.

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.

Larson, K.C. 2000. Circumnutation behavior of an exotic honeysuckle vine and its native congener: Influence on clonal mobility. American Journal of Botany 87(4): 533-538.

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

Miyake, T. and T. Yahara. 1998. Why does the flower of Lonicera japonica open at dusk?. Canadian Journal of Botany-Revue Canadienne De Botanique 76(10): 1806-1811.

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

Nuzzo, V. 1996. Lonicera japonica, p.96. In Randall, J.M. and J. Marinelli. [eds.].  Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Inc., New York.

Peterson R.T. and M. McKenny. 1968. A field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America.  Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Peng, L.Y., S.X. Mei, B. Jiang, H. Zhou, H.D. Sun. 2000. Constituents from Lonicera japonica. Fitoterapia 71(6): 713-715.

Robertson, D.J., M.C. Robertson, T. Tague. 1994. Colonization dynamics of 4 exotic plants in a northern piedmont natural area. Bulletin of The Torrey Botanical Club 121(2): 107-118.

Schweitzer, J.A. and K.C. Larson. 1999. Greater morphological plasticity of exotic honeysuckle species may make them better invaders than native species. Journal of The Torrey Botanical Society 126(1): 15-23.

Schierenbeck, K.A., R.N. Mack, R.R. Sharitz. 1994. Effects of herbivory on growth and biomass allocation in native and introduced species of Lonicera. Ecology 7(6): 1661-1672.

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