Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia including Japan, Korea and northern China. It is a twining vine able to climb up to 10 m high or more in trees, with opposite, simple oval leaves 3-8 cm long, and sweetly scented bell-shaped flowers. The fruit is a globose dark blue berry 5-8 mm diameter containing numerous seeds.
Japanese Honeysuckle is considered an invasive exotic weed in the United States, and is classified as a noxious weed by the state of Illinois and New Zealand. It has done severe damage to eastern American woodlands, often forming vast clonal colonies on forest floors that displace virtually all native ground plants, and climbing into trees and shrubs and severely weakening and even killing them by cutting off sap flow and shading their leaves.
Nonetheless, this species is still sold by American nurseries, often as the cultivar 'Hall's Prolific'. It is an effective groundcover, and does have pleasant, strong-smelling flowers, but the damage it does tremendously outweighs any positive qualities. The only invasive exotics that compete with this plant for total damage done in the eastern United States are Kudzu and Multiflora rose.
Honeysuckle can be controlled by cutting, flaming, or burning the plant to root level and repeating on two week increments until nutrient reserves in the roots are depleted. Honeysuckle can also be controlled through annual applications of glyphosate, or through grubbing if high labor and soil destruction are not of concern.
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