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Bush Honeysuckle

Bush Honeysuckle, Lonicera spp. infestation, photo by WNY PRISM

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Common Name: Bush honeysuckle
Scientific Name: Lonicera tartarica, L. morrowii, L. maackii x L. bella
Origin: Asia

Description

The invasive bush honeysuckles are deciduous shrubs that may grow to be 15 ft. tall. Honeysuckle leaves are opposite, have smooth margins, and can vary in shape, being oval or tapered at the tip. In May and June, honeysuckles produce many small white, pink or red flowers. From July through September, honeysuckles produce red or yellow fruit, which are often situated in pairs near the base of the leaves. The bark on the larger stems is shaggy. Invasive honeysuckles have hollow stems, distinguishing them from the native honeysuckle species.

Habitat

Invasive honeysuckles grow in forest margins, canopy openings, roadways, meadows, abandoned fields and pastures. All the species of honeysuckle grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate some shade.

Threat

Invasive honeysuckles leaf out early in the year, allowing them to shade out native plants. Honeysuckles encourage birds to nest earlier in the year and lower to the ground, making them more vulnerable to predation. The fruit that invasive honeysuckles produce are eaten by birds, but they do not supply nutrition that native fruit-bearing shrubs provide.

Management

Smaller shrubs can be pulled by hand. Larger shrubs can be treated with herbicide using cut-stump, foliar or basal bark applications.

Regional Distribution

Widespread

WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart

Pathways

Bush honeysuckles were introduced to North America as ornamental plants. Seeds are transported by wildlife, primarily birds.

Invasive bush honeysuckles are prohibited in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/99141.html.

Native Alternatives

Winterberry  (Ilex verticillata)

American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum)

Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum)