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PlantFiles: Amur Honeysuckle
Lonicera maackii

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Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lonicera (luh-NIS-er-a) (Info)
Species: maackii (MAK-ee-eye) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Shrubs

Height:
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Deciduous

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 11 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Profile:

2 positives
2 neutrals
7 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative coriaceous On Feb 11, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Who would want to grow a bush honeysuckle without fragrant flowers? The flowers of this species are small and have no fragrance. If you have a highly fragrant bush honeysuckle, your shrub is L. fragrantissima.

If this grows on your land, odds are good that it was planted by some passing bird and not by conscious choice.

The gang-of-four Asian shrub honeysuckles that are widely invasive in North America (L. maackii, L. tatarica, L. x bella, and L. morrowii) are dowdy shrubs without fragrance. They come with a host of pests and diseases, foremost of which is the Russian aphid that causes disfiguring witches' broom. Most descriptions exaggerate the ornamental value of their flowers.

Planting of this noxious weed species is prohibited in three states. Together with the other invasive honeysuckles and buckthorn, it destroys natural habitat and shades out our native woodland wildflowers. It impoverishes our once rich native flora and reduces its capacity to support wildlife.

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 13, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is the foremost invasive deciduous shrub weed in southeast Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, plus it is also horrible in northern Illinois along with Common Buckthorn, Multiflora Rose, and Autumnolive. It has pretty foliage and white flowers; otherwise it has ugly bark, buds, and twigs and grows rampantly in a very messy, overly twiggy manner with lots of dead wood always present. It has no real fall color. It makes lots of seedlings all over and does ground sucker also It is an East Asian noxious weed in eastern North America that should be exterminated. It pushes out a great diviersity of other shrubs that would better feed wildlife than it does.

Positive zorba45 On Apr 28, 2013, zorba45 from Richfield, OH wrote:

This is a nice flowering plant. The birds love to eat the berries, while the bush can form a tall and thick privacy screen in areas with full shade. Hundreds of seedlings have come up throughout my yard, so i transplant a few every year to make a privacy screen. This plant is very vigorous in in full sun and shaded areas, and also provides wildlife food and cover. I dont understand why people dislike this plant.

Negative pjoid123 On May 23, 2012, pjoid123 from Spotsylvania, VA wrote:

Right now it fills a niche in my partial shade garden. But it's very very stringy, and outside of the few blooms I get it's a plant I can't get very exited about. When I find something to replace the 2 specimens I have, they will end up in the compost pile. I got them from a neighbor in the subdivision. I saw about 50 in bloom at his house and was really impressed--not so much anymore! It's not quite a tree and not quite a bush.

Negative RosemaryK On Feb 12, 2011, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am not going to allow these shrubs any more parole! They were here with the property. The sprawling branches just cannot be made into an attractive shrub. They do flourish in the shade without many blossoms, but surely there are better replacements for these invaders.

Positive ptkexpres On Mar 8, 2009, ptkexpres from Rolla, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

ZONE 5
I have two of these shrubs in my yard and enjoy them year round as do the birds. When they bloom they are covered with yellow and white typical honeysuckle looking flowers that turn into bright red decorative berries in the fall. The birds use these bushes for cover in between trips to our feeders and bird bath. One of my bushes is in full sun and the other is in partial shade and they both do equally well. I never water them since they are large established bushes, but I do give them a light pruning right after the flower to keep them the size I desire. This also helps limit the number of seeds they produce.
I have had a few volunteer plants sprout from seed, but they were easily removed before they were too large. My personal experience is that they are easy to manage if you take the time to keep them from taking over.

Negative calumetman On Jul 30, 2007, calumetman from Chicago, IL wrote:

The small to medium sized shrubs of my uniformed youth have become the shrubs of regret in my adulthood. The if-only-I-knew-thens roll off my tongue like the numerous knarled and crouching branches that, along with the various confusing forms of buckthorn, dominate the backyard border understory at my family homestead in Southwestern Ohio's Mad River Valley. They seem to bend spider-like. Woody sentries guarding the unwanted groundcovers of garlic mustard and nettles.

I find myself drench in sweat from the exercise of removal. It is the latest challenge for this novice landscape/gardener whose cut his teeth on the more easily manipulated sandy wetland savanna soils of Chicago's Calumet Region, and learned all but too late about many of the eurasian invasions that threaten our native habitats.

Nevertheless, I've risen to the challenge of eradicating this scourge from what otherwise has grown into a fine brake of towering native Lindens, Ash, Sugar Maples, American Elms and Walnut trees, many as tall a 80+ feet, creating an attractive canopy. All apparently tapped into one of the many underground water sources dotted throughout the region. This factor certainly contributes to the root systems of these invaders being so well anchored. My attempt to transform this woodland property into a mini-nature preserve is a formidable one. But I am determined to give the cool dappled high shade, which lasts throughout the day, over to as many of our most attractive native varieties as possible. And say goodbye to Amur Honeysuckle forever.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 20, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Amur Honeysuckle Lonicera maackii is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative Colquhoun On Jun 16, 2006, Colquhoun from Champaign, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Invasive plain and simple. Personally I would put it at the top of the Federal List of Noxious Weeds.. right up there with Kudzu.

Negative Equilibrium On Aug 17, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

Eurasian in origin, honeysuckles were first introduced to North America in the mid 1700's. Many people chose to plant honeysuckles to "improve wildlife habitat". Ironically, just the opposite occurs because they leaf out considerably earlier than most native species. Here is what was written by Elizabeth J. Czarapata regarding the early spring leaf out of the species, " honeysuckles' vigorous growth and early spring leaf-out inhibit the growth of native shrubs and groundlayer species, reducing food and cover for wildlife. If not controlled, they can become massive in size and eventually replace native plants in a given area by crowding or shadign them out and by depleting the soil of moisture and nutrients. Some studies suggest that exotic honeysuckles may also be allelopathic. Although Bella's, Morrow's and Tartarian varieties are well established across vast areas of the upper Midwest, Amur honeysuckle is currently msot problematic in the southern areas of this region but is spreading northward. Bella honeysuckle is a hybrid of Morrow's and Tartarian honeysuckle."

The following is an excerpt from "Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest" written by Elizabeth J. Czarapata

"In a six-year study at the Morton Arboretum near Chicago, researchers found that robins and wood thrushes that nested in exotic buckthorn and honeysuckle shrubs suffered much greater predation than those that nested in comparable native shrubs like hawthorns and viburnums. Researchers believe that nests placed in these non-native shrubs are more vulnerable to predators compared to nests placed in native species. For example, the stronger limbs of honeysuckle encourage birds to build nests lower than they do in native shrubs, making it easier for raccoons and other marauders to prey on them. In addition, neither honeysuckle nor buckthorn have stout thorns like the hawthorns to protect the birds from mammalian predators. Because both non-native shrubs leaf out earlier than native shrubs, the birds are also more likely to choose these "ecological traps" for nesting early in the season. (Kenneth A, Schmidt and Christopher J. Whelan, "Effects of Exotic Lonicera and Rhamnus on Songbird Nest Predation", Conservation Biology, December 1999)

Note: Although not implicated in the study above, cats, also non-native in origin, are similarly deterred as predators by thorny plants like hawthorns. Research by John Coleman, Stanley Temple, and Scott Craven indicates that in Wisconsin alone rural free-ranging domestic cats kill about 39 million song birds per year.

Cedar Waxwings, gorgeous birds with striking black face masks, normally have a bright yellow band across the tip of their tails, but over the last thirty-five years, an increasing number of waxwings have been sporting an orange tail band instead. Laboratory studies in 1992 in the vicinity of Ithaca, New York, demonstrated that yellow-tailed waxwings, which were fed honey suckle berries (Lonicera morrowii) during molt, grew orange tails. Bird banders have also found orange replacing yellow in some white-throated sparrows, Kentucky warblers, and yellow-breasted chats. Because color is so important to the social behavior of birds (eg., mate selection), this introduced shrub could have far-reaching and adverse effects for all of these birds. (Based on information supplied by Mark Witmer, Section of Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)"

Neutral CaptMicha On May 15, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Certainally a pretty plant because it erupts with white and yellow blooms in May.

The flowers are smaller, and squatter than L. japonica and it grows as a shrub, uniform shape. Red berries in fall provide food for numerous bird species.

I didn't notice much, if any scent.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Davis, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Danielsville, Georgia
Champaign, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Bethesda, Maryland
Brookeville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Pikesville, Maryland
Lexington, Massachusetts
Rolla, Missouri
Saint James, Missouri
Charlotte, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Bucyrus, Ohio
Richfield, Ohio
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Spotsylvania, Virginia



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