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Lonicera japonica - Thunb.

Common Name Japanese Honeysuckle
Family Caprifoliaceae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards The leaves contain saponins[179]. Saponins are quite toxic but are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. They can be found in many common foods such as some beans. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will normally remove most of the saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Thickets in hills and mountains all over Japan[58]. Woods in the mountains and lowlands of Korea[279].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea. Locally naturalized in Britain[50].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lonicera japonica Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica Japanese Honeysuckle


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Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Lonicera japonica is an evergreen Climber growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 4. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Moths.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Nintooa japonica. (Thunb.)Sweet.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses: Tea

Leaves - cooked. The parboiled leaves are used as a vegetable[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. Flowers - sucked for their sweet nectar[183], used as a vegetable or made into a syrup and puddings[183]. A tea is made from the leaves, buds and flowers[177, 183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antibacterial  Antiinflammatory  Antispasmodic  Antiviral  Depurative  Diuretic  Dysentery  Febrifuge  
Skin  TB  VD

The stems and flower buds are alterative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge[147, 174, 176, 178, 238]. The plant is also used to reduce blood pressure[174, 176, 238]. The stems are used internally in the treatment of acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps and hepatitis[238]. The stems are harvested in the autumn and winter, and are dried for later use[238]. The stems and flowers are used together as an infusion in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) and dysentery[238]. An infusion of the flower buds is used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including syphilitic skin diseases and tumours, bacterial dysentery, colds, enteritis, pain, swellings etc[174, 176, 218, 222, 238, 279]. Experimentally, the flower extracts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and are antibacterial, antiviral and tuberculostatic[222, 279]. Externally, the flowers are applied as a wash to skin inflammations, infectious rashes and sores[238]. The flowers are harvested in early morning before they open and are dried for later use[238]. The plant has a similar action to Forsythia suspensa and is usually used in combination with that species to achieve a stronger action[176]. This plant has become a serious weed in many areas of N. America, it might have the potential to be utilized for proven medical purposes[222].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Insecticide

A very vigorous climbing plant, it makes a good dense ground cover plant where it has the space to run over the ground but it will swamp smaller plants[197, 200]. The sub-species L. japonica repens is especially used for this purpose on the continent[182]. The cultivar 'Halliana' has also been recommended[188, 197]. This cultivar should be clipped back severely in the spring if it gets untidy, it responds well to such conditions[208]. Plants should be spaced about 1 metre apart each way[208]. The plant is said to be insecticidal[218]. The stems have been used in making baskets[257].

Special Uses

Ground cover  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a good moist soil with its roots in the shade and its top climbing into the light[200]. Succeeds in any soil in part shade[184]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. They succeed in dry shade, the cultivar 'Halliana' is especially recommended for such a situation[188]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[184]. The foliage can be damaged in severe wind-chill conditions but the plant usually recovers in the spring[202]. Fruit is only formed after a hot summer[202]. A rampantly growing plant[190], it climbs by twining around other plants[182] and makes an excellent screen for a north or east facing fence or an unsightly object[190]. This species has the potential to become a rampant weed, it has escaped from cultivation in N. America whre it can outcompete native species[274]. The plant has powerfully scented flowers. The white-flowered cultivar 'Halliana' has a pronounced lemon-like perfume[245]. There are several named varieties, developed for their ornamental value[182, 200]. Special Features:Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 months cold stratification[113] and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with or without a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15 - 20cm with or without a heel, November in a cold frame. Good percentage[78]. Layering in autumn[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

   Thu Jan 26 2006

Thsi si one of the ingredients listed in an herbal product called BP Balance. It is supposed to lower Blood Pressure. Some testimonials on Sites selling the product say it lowered their BP in days , when prescription medications would not. Other ingredients listed in the BP Balance are F.Sophora, F.Notoginseng Hoo, L.F. Prunella Vulgatise, Lonicera Japonica, J. Aponica Thund, and Wet Huse, sometimes spelled Wewt Huse. I purchased 3 bottles, and think I may have gotten a rip off brand. It wasn't labled except with the ingredients, no brand name, and said on the lable, "no medical value", "no side effects". Made in China. I believe it was a rip off of a legitamite product, as it costs considerably less then when I found it on other Sites.

George Nelson   Thu Mar 23 2006

I have had high blood pressure (150/90) for about six years and was prescribed a low dose of Toprol. I took the Toprol for 2 years and saw my BP drop to an average 140/85. Okay, but not good enough. A couple of months ago I visited a natural healing herbalist who receommended the "BP Balance" another reader refers to. I think I bought the same brand as that reader, because the label markings are the same. Cost: $22 American for 100 tablets. The tablets are very small, and I take 6 per day. Within three days my BP dropped to an average of about 130/78, with systolic number frequently in the 120's. I don't know if the brand I'm getting from my herbalist is a "rip-off" (as suggested by the other reader) or not, but it does seem to be effective, at least in my case. I am now searching for a more well-known or reliable brand. I am also looking to buy larger quantities at perhaps lower cost per tablet.

Jerry Johnson   Sun Mar 26 2006

I too bought 3 bottles of BP Balance as the person above did. It came in a generic looking bottle with nothing on the lable exceopt the ingredients , made in China, and also had " No medical value" "no side effects" written . There was no company name. I have been on 2 medications for BP for several years, Toprol 3 times per day, and Altace 1 time per day. Two madicines do not lower my Bp as it should. When I read about BP Balance and how it brought your pressure under control in as little as 3 days, I was impressed to say the least. I ordered it from a site called Supervits.com, but whae it arrived it had been sent from a company called Discount Health Foods owned by a man named Phillip D. Pecoraro. I took all 3 bottles which I got at a lower price than some Sites, and I too believe it is a rip-off of another product. It did NOTHING to lower my BP, and I continued to take my doctor prescribed medications too. On the Site there are many good things said about Mr. Pecoraro, and how he is a contributer society. I don't know if he believes he is selling the "REAL" Bp Balance or not, but I would advise anyone considering it to purchase it from any company other than this one. If I remember I paid 19.95 per bottle and they offered free shipping if you bought 50.00 or more, hence the reason for ordering 3 bottled. Other Sites sell what probably is the real item for 24.95-29.95 per bottle and charge for S/H. You be the judge, and if anyone knows if there is really a BP Balance which works please post it and your comments. Thank You.

   Wed Oct 4 2006

Hi I have purchased 2 bottles of BPBalance for 25.95 (a bottle of 100 tea pills)The product does work.Carl

   Jun 26 2011 12:00AM

I love the nectar from Lonicera Japonica. It's one of my favorite fragrant flowers as well. If you have a lot of Honeysuckle on your property and want to find a use for it, try starting a bee hive!

   Aug 13 2011 12:00AM

A syrup made of the flowers just like shown here tastes very nice: http://invasivore.org/2011/06/recipe-honeysuckle-simple-syrup/ As this plant, once established, has many many flowers, i'll have quite a few litres of Japanese Honeysuckle syrup this year.

   Nov 16 2014 12:00AM

The essential oil of the plant can cointain significan amoutns of farnesol and linalool, and probably these substances are also present in the extract (or tea). People allergic to these ingredients shoul be aware of this. See: Farmacia 62(1):194-201,2014.

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