Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s): , ,

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

Flowering Months: , , , , , ,


Janpanese Honeysuckle is a vigorous, fast growing scrambling and climbing shrub with distinctive pinkish new stems. Old stems can become thick and gnarly.

Japanese Honeysuckle has leaves (3–8 cm long) that differ in shape at different stages of growth: juvenile leaves are lobed; adult leaves are oval and opposite pairs on the stem. Leaves are sparsely hairy at first becoming hairless on upper surface with age.

It has small yellow cream to white flowers with a pink tube. Flowers occur in pairs and mostly in spring to autumn. Flowers are fragrant and nectar-filled.

Small shiny black berries 6–10 mm long occur in autumn.


Seeds are dispersed by birds and water, by spreading stems that root at the node and in dumped garden waste.

Impact on bushland

Japanese Honeysuckle grows rapidly and forms a dense shade over shrubs and low canopy trees, blocking the light, breaking branches and causing loss of biodiversity.



Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Guinea Flower (Hibbertia scandent)
  • Twining Purple Pea (Hardenbergia violacea)
  • Dusky Twining Pea (Kennedia rubicunda)
  • Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)
  • Water Vine (Cissus antarctica)
  • Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata)
  • not Clematis cultivars; these can also be environmental weeds.

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.


  • Hand remove
  • Scrape and paint
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Hand remove

Take hold of one runner and gently pull it along the ground towards you. Check points of resistance where fibrous roots grow from the nodes. Cut roots with a knife or dig out with a trowel and continue to follow the runner. The major root systems need to be removed manually or scrape/cut and painted with herbicide. Bag any reproductive parts.

Chemical control

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

Scrape and paint

Using knife to scrape long gashes along stem
Scrape bark/outer layer away with a knife

With a knife, scrape up to a metre of the stem to reach the layer below the bark/outer layer. Immediately apply herbicide along the length of the scrape.

  • A maximum of half the stem diameter should be scraped. Do not ringbark.
  • Larger stems (over 1 cm in diameter) should have two scrapes opposite each other.
  • Vines can be left hanging in trees after treatment.

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

Honeysuckle twines in and around other plants, making it difficult to control.

Vines climbing up shrubs or trees:

Vines growing on the ground:

  • Pull out by hand, making sure all root and stem parts are removed. Cut material can be spread out off the ground. Once dead, it will decompose in place.
  • Where the foliage is dense, spray with herbicide if there are no native plants or water nearby.

Berries are spread by birds, so treat plants before they fruit.

Do not pull dead or alive vines out of trees as this may damage the tree and it may be habitat for microbats and other small animals.

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.