Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Monika Chandler
Minnesota Department of Agriculture 

December Weed of the Month: Japanese Honeysuckle

 

December 2, 2020

The tubular flowers of the Japanese honeysuckle plant are initially white then fade to yellow with age.

The sweet fragrance of Japanese honeysuckle flowers, often described as heavenly, lures pollinators long distances. In addition, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is an attractive woody vine that can grow up to 80 feet long. It was widely planted in southern and central states for both ornamental and erosion control purposes.

Unlike the abundant and damaging non-native bush honeysuckles that are shrubs, Japanese honeysuckle is a vine. The leaves are simple. Pairs of leaves and flowers are positioned opposite along the vines. Tubular flowers are initially white then fade to yellow with age. Their heady fragrance is most potent at dusk to attract moths. Additional pollinators include bees, wasps, and hummingbirds. Fruits are small purple-black berries. Wildlife can eat these fruits and spread seeds. Vines trailing on the ground can root then send up additional vines.

Because Japanese honeysuckle was not considered sufficiently cold hardy for Minnesota winters, it was not widely planted in our state. This turned out to be fortunate because it escaped cultivation elsewhere and is very problematic. It grows quickly to form dense tangles that overtake other vegetation. Native to Japan, Korea, and eastern China, the vines proliferate without the insects and disease that control them in their native range.

There are no documented occurrences of Japanese honeysuckle naturalizing in Minnesota despite troublesome occurrences in Wisconsin and Michigan. To prevent the introduction and establishment of Japanese honeysuckle in Minnesota, it was designated prohibited eradicate, meaning that all above and below ground parts of the plant must be destroyed and the propagation or sale of Japanese honeysuckle is prohibited.

If you think you found Japanese honeysuckle, please report your find to Arrest the Pest. You can email photos to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or call 1-888-545-6684.

 

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