Japanese honeysuckle are invasive

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Japanese honeysuckle was introduced into the U.S. in 1806, coming to Long Island, N.Y. From there it was accepted at botanical gardens, and plant nurseries began offering it for sale as a vine good for home beautification and use in helping control dirt erosion.

Today, more than 200 years later, Japanese honeysuckle has proved its resilience. It has become a noxious weed and an invasive species out of control in much of the United States, including Missouri.

Though the white and yellow flowers of the Japanese honeysuckle are unique and beautiful, this vine can quickly inundate and smother small seedling trees, shrubs and low-growing native plants. Ridding an area of established Japanese honeysuckle can be hard work that might require cutting, burning and spraying the whole area with brush-killing chemicals. Often this will result in destroying all native plants as well.

Japanese honeysuckle seeds are black when ripe. Deer will browse on this plant and songbirds may nest and take cover from danger in Japanese honeysuckle vines. Hummingbirds like the nectar.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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