Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Type of weed:

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.


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, treat 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 more info

For key points on these techniques:Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industry's Noxious and Envioronmental Weed Control Handbook: