Photo by Robert Henn

INVASIVE SPECIES Part I: Honeysuckle

Jake Henry is working to remove the honeysuckle from Miller Ecological Park.  For those who enjoy the sweet smelling plant and know that it does attract birds, it is important to explain why this plant is harmful in woodland areas. Trees marked with a blue ribbon have been identified as the trees to save.

Excerpts From Wildflowers of Ohio by Robert Henn: 

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) was introduced from Asia.  "It has a white flower(sometimes tinged with pink) changing to yellow with age.  Lip and tube are of equal length, 1"long.  It flowers in pairs in upper axils of the leaves all along the stem.  The berries are red.  The upright shrub can be 10-15 feet tall.

Also called Bush Honeysuckle, it was named for Richard Maack, the Russian plant explorer who collected specimens in 1855 near the Amur River in eastern China. It has escaped from botanical gardens and is presently one of the greatest threats to woodland plant diversity.  The seeds are readily eaten and widely dispersed by birds. Without control the Amur Honeysuckle will form dense thickets in woodland understories.

Taken from the ODNR:


"These vigorous shrubs shade out native vegetation, particularly in the woodland understory. They are able to out-compete native wildflowers for light and other resources. Bush honeysuckles green up earlier in the spring than most other plants, giving them an advantage over other species. Each produces abundant amounts of seed which are spread by birds and other animals."