Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Japanese honeysuckle is an aggressive scrambling shrub. It has become a serious weed in moist gullies, forests and bushland.


How does this weed affect you?

Japanese honeysuckle is a robust scrambler or climber that smothers and out-competes native vegetation and prevents the regeneration of native species. It has become a serious weed in moist gullies, forests and bushland.  Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers has been identified as a key threatening process for many vulnerable and endangered species in NSW. Japanese honey suckle is one of the main species listed as a threat.

Human poisoning

Japanese honeysuckle is toxic to humans, causing discomfort and irritation but is not life threatening. The berries and leaves are poisonous if ingested, causing gastro-intestinal irritation. It is also a skin irritant causing rashes on contact with the plant.

What to do if poisoning occurs:

  • If the patient is unconscious, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing dial 000 or get to the emergency section of a hospital immediately.
  • If the patient is conscious and responsive call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.

What does it look like?

Japanese honeysuckle is a semi-deciduous shrub, climbing or scrambling to 10 m high. The leaves are opposite along the stem, oblong to oval shaped and up to 8 cm long and 4 cm wide.   The fragrant white flowers are in pairs, with two lips. The upper lip has 4 lobes. The fruit are oval shaped, black when ripe and up to 1 cm long.

Where is it found?

Japanese honeysuckle has naturalised in eastern parts of NSW and is especially common in the Greater Sydney region.

It is native plant in eastern Asia.


PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 15 February 2021 from https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Lonicera~japonica

Richardson F.J.,Richardson R.G. and Shepherd R.C.H (2006).Weeds of the south-east an identification guide for Australia. (R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne).

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 400 mL in 600 mL of water
Comments: Cut stump application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 10 - 20 g in 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application, add a surfactant
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: 2 (previously group B), Inhibition of acetolactate and/or acetohydroxyacid synthase (ALS, AHAS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High

Picloram 44.7 g/L + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application: Cut the stem no higher than 10 cm above the ground. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm. Stem inject application for trees: Make a series of cuts 15-20 mm deep around the trunk using an axe or saw. Space cuts evenly with no more than a 20-40 mm gap between them. Apply a 5 mm layer of gel over the lower surface of the cut.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2024