Japanese Honeysuckle
Lonicera japonicaCaprifoliaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitFruit
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Hall's honeysuckle
  • Nintooa japonica

The Plant:

  • A perennial woody vine that grows up to 30 feet long.

The Leaves:

  • 1.5-3 inches long
  • opposite
  • ovate with entire margins
  • young leaves often lobed or toothed
  • dark green and glabrous above
  • slightly pubescent below
  • lower leaves may be lobed like White Oak leaves

The Stem:

  • hairy young stems
  • reddish brown to brown
  • old stems hollow, glabrous, brown peeling bark

The Flowers:

  • Extremely fragrant, white five-petaled flowers that mature to yellow. Borne in pairs in the upper leaf axis.

The Fruits:

  • 0.2 inch diameter
  • black to dark purple berries
  • 2-3 brown to black ovate seed
  • 2-3 mm long seed, one side ridged and the other flat or concave

The Habitat:

  • roadsides, disturbed areas
  • meadows
  • fencerows
  • full sun and shaded areas


  • birds eat the fruits and disperse seeds
  • also reproduces vegetatively via rhizomes, when stems root at the nodes, or from above-ground runners (stolons)
  • sometimes planted

Key ID Features:

  • vine
  • opposite
  • glabrous above
  • hairy below
  • brown peeling brown bark (old)
  • fragrant
  • white to yellow flowers

Similar Species:

  • Japanese honeysuckle is easily distinguished from native honeysuckle vines since the uppermost pairs of leaves are separate, while those of native honeysuckle vines are joined (connate). Native honeysuckle vines have red to orange berries as opposed to the black berries of the Japanese Honeysuckle.


  • In the south Japanese Honeysuckle is evergreen and the North it is semi-evergreen to deciduous. It can choke or girdle trees and shrubs and shade out understory plants.

Growth Form: Vine

Origin: Japan, China, Korea

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban July 2006, propagation ban January 2009

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston