Japanese honeysuckle was bought over as an ornamental but has since spread into natural habitats across the United States. It spreads by rhizomes, runners, and bird-dispersed seeds. The plant forms evergreen mats which shade out native vegetation and climb up small trees and shrubs.
The Japanese honeysuckle can be identified by its fragrant flowers which blossom all summer. These flowers are yellow, white, trumpet-shaped, and occur in pairs. In the fall, they have small black fruits; the native species of Lonicera have red and orange fruits. The leaves of the Japanese honeysuckle are oblong (1 - 2" long), smooth (older leaves) or lobed (younger leaves) along the edges, and arranged oppositely along the stem. The Japanese honeysuckle also has 2 leaves at the tips of the stem; the native Lonicera species have only one leaf at the tip of the stem. Older stems are hollow and have brown, peeling bark.
Fact Sheet: Japanese Honeysuckle
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Photo Credit: Chris Moorman