Lonicera japonica is a woody vine, climbing, trailing, bark brown, shredding; colonial from stem layering and root sprouts.
Leaves opposite, ca 5 cm long, entire to toothed or lobed, semi-evergreen, new leaves emerge in early spring, shade tolerant but does not flower or fruit in low light (Robertson et al. 1994).
Flowers pale, dull yellow or white, very fragrant tubular, irregular, collecting nectar in base, May-June; insect & possible hummingbird pollinated.
Fruit fleshy, black, persistent, pulp lipid <10% (White and Stiles 1992); seeds dispersed by birds. Fruit eaten by many song birds, also by bears and coyotes (Wilson1993), twigs eaten by deer.
Wetland status: FAC-.
Frequency in NYC: Very common.
Habitat: Moist to dry, open, disturbed forests, edges, roadsides, developing woodlands, and around abandoned house sites. In NYC, found in soils with pH 4.7-7.0 (Gargiullo unpublished data).
Notes: Major aggressive pest. Displaces and smothers native herbs, shrubs and small trees, retards succession of by competing for light and nutrients (Whigham 1984). Leaves emerge before those of native spring ephemerals and last through most of the winter, thereby shading out most native plants. Vines winding around stems of trees and shrubs can severely distort growth and eventually strangle the host plant. Shrubs and small trees can be entirely covered and shaded out by honeysuckle vines. Added weight of vines can cause breakage of host plant in ice and wind storms. Infestations of Japanese honeysuckle can prevent forest regrowth and renewal by killing tree saplings and seedlings or preventing emergence of seedlings (Sinclair et al. 1987). Roots can resprout after above ground stems are killed by fire (Barden and Matthews 1980). Listed as one of the “top twenty” invasive alien plants by the NYS Natural Heritage Program’s Ad hoc committee on invasive plants. Susceptible to insolibasidium blight (Insolibasidium deformans), a fungus affecting only honeysuckles, that destroys leaves (Wayne et al. 1989). Initial symptoms are wrinkling and yellowing of the leaf, eventually it becomes twisted, turns grayish and drops. Lonicera japonica.Beaver Creek Environmental Atlas. Northern Arizona University.beavercreek.nau.edu