Himalayan Honeysuckle

Leycesteria formosa

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s):

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , , , ,


A deciduous multi-stemmed shrub to 3 m high. Stems are erect, hollow and bamboo-like.

It is distinguished by opposite leaves joined by a ridge across the stem. The leaves are heart shaped. The underside of the leaves is paler than the upper surface.

White tubular flowers grow in long drooping lantern-like spikes, partly concealed by deep reddish-purple bracts. These bracts, which resemble leaves, are found at the base of the flowers. It flowers mostly spring and summer.

Fruits are ovoid fleshy berries, dark crimson when ripe. Each fruit contains more than 100 small seeds.


It is spread by animals, water and by layering. It may have the capacity to regenerate from broken pieces of stem washed down creek-lines. It escapes from gardens.

Impact on bushland

Ii invades sensitive moist bushland such as Blue Mountains swamps where it forms thickets and dense shade, displacing native vegetation.

Himalayan Honeysuckle is an increasing problem in the Blue Mountains because it can completely transform bushland into a weedy forest.



Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus)
  • Grevilleas that like swampy heath such as Grevillea acanthifolia
  • Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatis)
  • Lillypilly (Acmena smithii)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


  • Dig out tap root
  • Remove flowers, fruit, pods or seeds
  • Stem inject or frill
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Hand removal of plants with a tap root

Trowel digging down beside tap root
Digging out a weed with a deep tap root

Push a narrow trowel or knife into the ground next to the tap root. Carefully loosen soil. Repeat this step around the tap root. Grasp stem at ground level, rock plant backwards and forwards and pull gently. Tap roots carefully to dislodge soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down lightly.

Remove seeds, pods or fruit

Gently remove any seeds, pods or fruit and carefully place in a bag.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.

Stem injection or frilling

Stem injection
Drilling holes at 45° and squirting poison into holes
Apply poison immediately after drilling

At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch


As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.


Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)

Cut and paint

Applying poison to cut stump from squeeze bottle
Apply poison immediately after cutting

Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.

Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.

Specific control tips for this weed

  • Seedlings and small plants can be hand pulled if all the roots are removed; use a trowel or knife to assist by loosening the soil.
  • Use the cut and paint method on more established plants, using herbicide.
  • Larger plants can be stem injected by drilling into the woody base/root ball and filling with undiluted glyphosate.

Because the berries are bird spread, it is best to treat plants before they fruit. Bag any berries and dispose in a hot compost to kill the seed).  Other parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the ground. Once dead the material will decompose in place or can be composted.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: