Bush Honeysuckle
Lonicera maackii., Honeysuckle Family

Quick Tips

  • Wear glasses or protective eyewear. Everyone experiences a near miss if they work long enough.
  • Remove any time except spring and early summer when birds nest. Trunks are most visible in winter. The shrub is early to leaf and late to lose leaves, making it easy to gauge at these times the number of shrubs in an area.
  • Tools: Saw, loppers. Loppers make bending easier on the back, and reduce scratching from rose thorns, but they are more awkward to carry. Clippers are useful to carry for short jobs.
  • Small and even some tall honeysuckle shrubs are unexpectedly easy to pull. Pull first, tugging in first one, then the opposite direction.
  • Roots spread out horizontally. Be sure after removing each plant to tamp down the disturbed soil and replace leaf litter.
  • Large trunks have to be cut or sawed. Return visits will be needed in most cases.


Honeysuckle shrubs are referred to as bush honeysuckle to distinguish them from honeysuckle vine, but the two are closely related.
A medium-sized shrub
The easiest time to learn bush honeysuckle is when it flowers in spring. Follow its progress through the year. Flowers are white at first, but start turning yellow after a day or two.
Bush honeysuckle berries in fall. They form in pairs, though here some have dropped or been eaten.
Several species of bush honeysuckle exist. The one in Sligo, Amur honeysuckle, has fairly long drip tip leaves.
In contrast, leaves of Morrow's Honeysuckle (photo taken in West Virginia) are more rounded. Bush Honeysuckles have opposite leaves followed by an inch or more of stem.
Honeysuckle foliage. The leaves are opposite.
The fresh look of new sprouts.
Older trunks have characteristic lined bark.
An unusual number of trunks on one plant. One trunk on the left is not a honeysuckle. Leaves on left and right are from the related Japanese honeysuckle vine.
Bush honeysuckle and rose both grow arching stems from near the base. These give rise to stems that reach for light.
In winter honeysuckle has pale upper branches, with opposite leave buds that protrude outwardly.

Look Alikes

Viburnums also have opposite leaves, but the trunk is not lined.
Arrowwood is one of three native viburnum species in the Park.
A second species, maple-leaved viburnum.


Young honeysuckle plants like these pull easily. Older plants with one or two trunks usually pull well, too.
But pulling leaves disturbed soil. Remember to tamp soil with your foot and replace the leaf cover.
Massive trunks require a saw.
Pile branches in a single out-of-the-way pile so a person can walk through the woods easily.
Bush honeysuckle leafs before most native plants in spring, and keeps its leaves long into fall.
These are the best times to judge how much honeysuckle is in an area.