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Japanese Honeysuckle


General description

Scrambling, much-branched perennial evergreen climber. Stems are strong, brown, flexible and smooth. Leaves are dark green, opposite and lanceolate. Flowers are fragrant, paired and white/yellow. Fruit is hard and green, ripening to soft black berries.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Japanese honeysuckle. As Japanese honeysuckle is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant Japanese honeysuckle within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any Japanese honeysuckle on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
Auckland Council will manage Japanese honeysuckle in buffer areas of parks where Japanese honeysuckle is being managed. However, if you wish to help protect your local parkland, you are encouraged to control or remove any Japanese honeysuckle on your land and plant a better alternative instead.

View a map of park buffers.

To find out more about how we’re protecting Auckland’s parkland from pest plants, visit our pest plant buffer pages.

Disturbed sites, riparian and forest margins, scrubland, canopy gaps, bare ground.

Seeds dispersed by birds. Vegetative spread from fragmentation. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and contamination of machinery.

Forms dense mats, smothering native vegetation. Harbours mice and facilitates other invasive plants. Hosts several pathogens in orchards, overgrows young plants and inhibits pine growth through allelopathy in forestry plantations.

Site Management

Cut and pull vines away from desirable trees and native plants before foliar spraying. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Cut vines and leave upper stems to die in trees or dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts (except vines if left to die in trees)

Disposal options: Compost in a composting weed bag or remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Check for presence of agents:
Honshu white admiral (Limenitis glorifica)

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
For small infestations:
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
For small infestations:
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base of stems with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water
Cut vines at waist height and foliar spray vines on the ground with 0.5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
For medium to large infestations:
Cut vines at waist height and foliar spray vines on the ground with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant
For infestations amongst desirable species:
Foliar spray with 50ml clopyralid per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant (not for use in home gardens)

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Hypericum androsaemum

Tutsan is similar to young Japanese honeysuckle. It's leaves smell of curry when crushed. It lacks a climbing habit.

RPMP status

Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas (Site-led)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Japanese honeysuckle - Main species image