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Honeysuckle

General Description:

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) have been some of the most invasive plant species of ecological and economic importance in the US.

Identifying Characteristics:

Amur Honeysuckle is a woody shrub up to 15 ft tall. Leaves are opposite, simple, and up to 3 in long with a rounded base and tapering apex. Stems become gray with peeling bark as it matures. White to yellowish fragrant flowers are born in large numbers in late spring time.
Tatarian Honeysuckle is an upright woody shrub, with a rounded and spreading crown up to 12 ft tall. Leaves are opposite, simple, up to 2½ in long, oval, somewhat flattened (truncate) at the base with a bluish green color. Stems become gray with peeling bark as it matures. White, pink, or red, very fragrant flowers are born in large numbers in late spring time.

Importance:

Honeysuckles are some of the first plants to leaf out in the spring time thereby establishing their dominance in the landscape. They are quite tolerant of limited light and can spread very aggressively crowding out native species or ornamental plantings. Honeysuckle that establishes its way into clusters of shrubs or hedges can be tricky to remove. They are truly weeds. Studies have shown that migratory songbirds that nest in honeysuckles and buckthorn are more susceptible to predation.

Habitat:

These plants are largely found along roadsides, forests, forest edges, meadows, and fence rows, alleyways, and between properties in residential areas.

Management:

Shallow roots can be dug out effectively. Cut stems resprout easily and should be treated with an herbicide. Foliage can be sprayed in the early spring season, as it is easier to identify and one of the first to leaf out, and other nearby plants will be less susceptible to herbicide damage. This is a tough plant and may take several treatments to eradicate.

For a pdf copy of this factsheet: Honeysuckle

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Metropolitan Forestry Services
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