FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Lonicera japonica

Common Name(s): Japanese honeysuckle


East Asia.

Ecological Impact

Lonicera japonica is able to displace native species by outcompeting native plants for light, space, water, and nutrients. Lonicera japonica grows very rapidly, and will send out runners that will root and grow anywhere. In nature, honeysuckle vines will twine around anything growing in close proximity, eventually covering small trees and shrubs. This can lead to the collapse of the trees and shrubs due to the mere weight of vegetation. Dense thickets of vegetation prevent the germination and growth of many native species, eventually preventing the replacement of understory shrubs and trees. Honeysuckle opens the door for many other invasive species to invade, further decreasing the natural diversity of forests or natural areas. Japanese honeysucke is listed as a Category 1 invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


Twining or trailing woody vine with young stems pubescent. Leaves evergreen, opposite, simple, mostly 4-8 cm (1.6-3.2 in), with short pubescent petioles. Leaf blades ovate, elliptic, or oblong, usually with at least sparse pubescence on midrib above and below, entire except on vigorous spring shoots which often have blades pinnately lobed. Flowers fragrant, white turning to creamy yellow with age, occurring singly or more often in pairs, in leaf axils; corolla strongly bilabiate (2-lipped). Fruit a black, globose berry, 5-6 mm (0.25 in) long, with 2-3 seeds per berry.

Identification Tips

May be confused with the native coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens L.) but coral honeysuckle's young stems and leaves are not pubescent and the flowers red with yellow within.


Introduced in 1806 for ornament and later for erosion control; by 1919 naturalized from the Gulf of Mexico to Massachusetts (Sather 1987).


Throughout all of Florida.

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Hand-pulling, grubbing with a hoe or a shovel, and removal of trailing vines is practical for small infestations. Herbicide application shortly after the first frost appears to be the most effective treatment. Monitor treated plants in case a second herbicide application is necessary.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants