Bush Honeysuckles

Bush honeysuckle. Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.

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Common Name: Bush honeysuckles
Scientific Name: Lonicera spp.
Origin: East Asia

Description

Bush honeysuckles are invasive deciduous shrubs that grow up to 20 feet tall. There are three species of bush honeysuckle common in the region including tartarian (Lonicera tatarica), Morrow’s (Lonicera morrowii), and Amur (Lonicera maackii). All species are similar in appearance, with simple, opposite, oval-shaped leaves. Plants bloom in May and June, producing fragrant white or pink flowers. Berries are round, fleshy and red. The center of twigs on invasive bush honeysuckles are hollow, a trait that distinguishes the invasive species from their native look-alikes.

There are several native species of Lonicera spp. but most grow as vines, not shrubs.

Habitat

Bush honeysuckles grow best in full sunlight, often establishing along forest edges, in canopy gaps, abandoned fields, pastures, and along right-of-ways. Morrow’s honeysuckle has a higher tolerance for moist soil and can be found in wetland habitats.

Threat

Frequently utilized as an ornamental species, bush honeysuckles escape cultivation via bird and animal dispersed seeds. One of the first species to leaf out in the spring, bush honeysuckles have a competitive advantage over native shrubs and herbaceous plants. Dense thickets crowd and shade out native vegetation. Severe infestations can create an environment more favorable to ticks.

NYS Threat Ranking Assessment Score = Very High, 84.50

Management

Do not plant bush honeysuckles. Small plants can be managed by hand pulling or digging, while larger infestations are most efficiently treated using an herbicide. Glyphosate based products are effective when applied as a cut stump or foliar spray treatment, while triclopyr is effective as a cut stump, foliar spray, or basal bark treatment.

Distribution: View Map