Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica Thumb

Family: - Caprifoliaceae


Lonicera commemorates Adam Lonitzer

Japonica is Latin for Japan, its country of origin.

Other Names:


Perennial, evergreen or semi evergreen, woody, clockwise twining vine or climber with sweet scented, tubular white to yellowish flowers that form fleshy black berries that are spread by birds.




First leaves:


Opposite pairs.

Stipules - None, but leaf bases connected by a raised line at the node.

Petiole - Short or none.

Blade - Spring leaves are lobed or waved, summer leaves are smooth edged. Oval, up to 20-120 mm long by 13-60 mm wide. Pointed tip. Edges smooth or lobed. Base tapered to squarish. Sparsely hairy on the edges and veins.


Purplish, long and thin, woody, wiry, clockwise twining. Hairy when young.

Flower head:

Usually pairs of flowers on 3-10 mm long, hairy stalks in leaf axils. Each pair of flowers has a pair of leaf like bracts and 4 bracteoles underneath. Bracts are oval to egg shaped, 7-15 mm by 4-10 mm. Bracteoles tiny and hairy.


Sweetly scented, tubular, white to dull yellow flowers with long stamens.

Ovary - inferior.

Style - Thread like, sticks out of flower.

Stigma - Head like.

Calyx - 5 lobed, bell shaped. Tube 1-2 mm long. Lobes triangular, 1-1.5 mm long and finely hairy.

Petals - White to cream ageing to yellow often tinged with pink, 30-45 mm long, tubular with 2 lips. Tube 15-23 mm long. Lobes 10-20 mm long with 4 lobes united for most of their length to form the upper lip and one lobe free to form the lower lip. Glandular hairs.

Stamens - 5. Stick well out of the flower.

Filaments - inserted near the top of the flower tube.

Anthers -


Glossy black egg shaped berries, 5-7 mm diameter.


2 mm diameter.


Key Characters:

Woody climber

Leaves exstipulate, opposite, petiolate.

Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic

Ovary inferior.

Sepals connate into a calyx tube with 5 lobes

Petals connate into a corolla tube with 5 lobes.

5 stamens inserted on the corolla tube.

Adapted from Judy Wheeler.


Life cycle:

Perennial. Germinates from seed forming evergreen vines.



By seed, stem fragments and rooting from nodes.

Flowering times:

September to May in New Zealand.

November to December in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seed lasts in the soil for about 2 years.

Vegetative Propagules:

Forms roots and new plants where stem nodes touch the soil. Stem fragments will form new plants.



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by birds, mammals, water flows and the dumping of garden waste. Stems will form roots where they contact the soil and reshoot from the base (coppice) when damaged. Roots form suckers especially if the vine is damaged.

Origin and History:

Eastern Asia.

A garden escape.




Prefers full sun.




Plant Associations:





Weed of fence lines, hedges, urban bushland, stream banks, old settlements and disturbed areas.

Smothers native ground species.

Lonicera japonica and Lonicera x americana are naturalised in WA.


Not recorded as toxic.





Management and Control:

Don't dump garden refuse in damp areas. Trim berries to prevent birds spreading seed. Plant tall growing trees to increase levels of shade. Spray isolated infestations.


Eradication strategies:

Spray with 10 L Garlon 600® plus 250 mL Pulse Penetrant® in 100 L water until just wet in spring when plants are actively growing. Repeat annually. Plant tall growing trees and remove isolated Honeysuckle fragments by hand.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is invasive in the USA.

Morrow Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) is invasive in the USA.

Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica) is invasive in the USA.

Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera periclymenum

Lonicera x americana is a garden plant naturalised in WA.

Plants of similar appearance:

Dolichos Pea, Hardenbergia, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Jasmine, Morning Glory, Periwinkle (Vinca), Wandering Jew.


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Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P126.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). 598.2.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P646.

Roy, B., Popay, I., Champion, P., James, T. and Rahman, A. (1998). An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand. (New Zealand Plant Protection Society). P108. Photo


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