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Morrow's honeysuckle

(Lonicera morrowii)

Photo of Morrow's honeysuckle
Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR

Dense, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that is 6-12’ tall. Young stems are slightly hairy and light brown while older stems may have shaggy, peeling bark and are often hollow between the nodes.


Other names for this plant include:
  • Common names: Asian fly honeysuckle, bush honeysuckle
  • Scientific names: Lonicera insularis
Ecological threat:
  • Invade a broad range of habitats, including forest edges, open woods, roadsides, pastures and old fields.
  • They alter habitats by decreasing light availability, depleting soil moisture and nutrients and possibly releasing allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants.
  • Eurasian bush honeysuckles have been widely planted as ornamentals and for wildlife habitat. Commercial propagation continues with many cultivars available from nurseries.
  • Hybridizes with L. tatarica to create L. x bella which is also invasive.
Overview map of Morrow's honeysuckle classification in WI
Restricted (orange) counties

Classification in Wisconsin: Restricted

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for Morrow's honeysuckle was based upon this literature review [PDF] developed by the department.


Leaves: Opposite, oval or oblong with short, pointed tips. Leaves are hairless on the top but slightly hairy on the underside and more gray-green in color. Leaf apexes are blunt with angled corners. Leaves come on 1 to 2 weeks earlier in spring and stay on later in fall than the leaves of native trees and shrubs.

Flowers: Fragrant, tubular and arranged in pairs at leaf axils. White to cream and turning yellow with age. Sepals and corolla are fuzzy. Bloom mid- to late spring.

Fruits & seeds: Red berries in pairs at leaf axils, and containing many seeds. Readily dispersed by birds.

Roots: Fibrous and shallow.

Similar species: Native Lonicera shrubs have shorter, sparser growth forms and solid white pith in stems. Native Diervilla species have yellow flowers that turn red with age, fruits that are elongated capsules, and grow in dry or rocky sites. Native species develop leaves 1-2 weeks later, drop them earlier in the fall and often have solid stems. L. tatarica, L. x bella and L. maackii are also invasive bush honeysuckles. They are all very similar except for slight differences in flower color and leaf downiness.


Mechanical: Small to medium-sized plants can be dug or pulled by hand or with a leverage tool. Prescribed burns in spring kill seedlings and top kills older plants.

Chemical: Cut-stump treatment with glyphosate; cut-stump treatment or basal bark treatment around each stem of the plant with triclopyr ester. Treat foliage with glyphosate in early spring prior to leaf out of native species.

For more information on control techniques, visit the Bush honeysuckles factsheet [exit DNR] by University of Wisconsin-Extension.


View Morrow's honeysuckle pictures in our photo gallery!


Sources for content:
  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 32-35
  • Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health: Morrow's honeysuckle [exit DNR].
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. Morrow's honeysuckle [exit DNR] (Lonicera morrowii).
Links for more information: