Q. What is Japanese honeysuckle? Why is it considered invasive?
Common features of invasive plants are:
- copious fruits and seeds which are efficiently dispersed
- effective, speedy establishment and growth
- crowding out of native plants
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) was originally introduced from its native Asia as a plant of garden interest. But it can form very dense populations that can out-compete and suppress the growth of native plant species so it was categorized as an invasive early in the 20th century.
Dense patches of honeysuckle suppress the growth of other native species and with semi-evergreen leaves, the plant continues to expand its reach into the winter, dominating native vegetation. It shades out native understory plants and tree seedlings and covers native trees with heavy vines that can topple weak trees. By decreasing light available to the understory, invasive honeysuckles can deplete moisture and nutrition available to other plants.
For more information about invasive plants, please refer to our Invasive Plant Guide.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service
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