The Bugwood Network

Japanese Honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica Thunb.

International Code - LOJA
FIA survey code - 3101


Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p.

acrobat version

Plant. Semievergreen to evergreen woody vine, high climbing and trailing to 80 feet (24 m) long, branching and often forming arbors in forest canopies and/or ground cover under canopies and forming long woody rhizomes that sprout frequently.

Stem. Slender woody vine becoming stout to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, with cross section round and opposite branching. Brown and hairy becoming tan barked, fissured, and sloughing with age. Rooting at low nodes.

Leaves. Opposite, broadly ovate to elliptic to oblong, base rounded, tips blunt-pointed to round. Length 1.6 to 2.6 inches (4 to 6.5 cm) and width 0.8 to 1.5 inches (2 to 4 cm). Margins entire but often lobed in early spring. Both surfaces smooth to rough hairy, with undersurface appearing whitish.

Flowers. April to August. Axillary pairs, each 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 cm) long, on a bracted stalk. White (or pink) and pale yellow. Fragrant. Thin tubular flaring into five lobes in two lips (upper lip four-lobed and lower lip single-lobed), with the longest lobes roughly equal to the tube. Five stamens and one pistil, all projecting outward and becoming curved. Persistent sepals.

Fruit and seeds. June to March. Nearly spherical, green ripening to black, glossy berry 0.2 inch (5 to 6 mm) on stalks 0.4 to 1.2 inches (1 to 3 cm) long. Two to three seeds.

Ecology. Most commonly occurring invasive plant, overwhelming and replacing native flora in all forest types over a wide range of sites. Occurs as dense infestations along forest margins and right-of-ways as well as under dense canopies and as arbors high in canopies. Shade tolerant. Persists by large woody rootstocks and spreads by rooting at vine nodes and animal-dispersed seeds.

Resembles yellow jassamine, Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) St. Hil., which has thinner leaves and hairless stems. Also resembles native honeysuckles, Lonicera spp., that usually have reddish hairless stems and hairless leaves and do not form extensive infestations.

History and use. Introduced from Japan in the early 1800s. Traditional ornamental, valued as deer browse, with some value for erosion control. Still planted in wildlife food plots.


April
Photo by J. Miller


May
Photo by T. Bodner


October
Photo by T. Bodner

November
Photo by J. Miller


May
Photo by J. Miller


September
Photo by J. Miller


States with suspected infestations are shown in gray.


Recommended control procedures:

  • Apply Escort* with a surfactant to foliage June to August—either by broadcast spraying 2 ounces per acre in water (0.6 dry ounces per 3-gallon mix) or by spot spraying 2 to 4 ounces per acre in water (0.6 to 1.2 dry ounces per 3-gallon mix).
  • Or, treat foliage with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant (July to October or during warm days in early winter) keeping spray away from desirable plants: a glyphosate herbicide as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix) or Garlon 3A or Garlon 4 as a 3- to 5-percent solution (12 to 20 ounces per 3-gallon mix).
  • Or, cut large vines just above the soil surface and immediately treat the freshly cut stem with a glyphosate herbicide or Garlon 3A as a 20-percent solution (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon sprayer) in water with a surfactant July to October (safe to surrounding plants).
  • Prescribed burning in spring will reduce dense ground mats and sever climbing vines for more effective herbicide treatments to resprouting vines.

*   Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.


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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQThe Bugwood Network University of Georgia Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.