Tree Killers: Tatarian honeysuckle

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  • Common English name: Tatarian honeysuckle
  • Other names:
  • Latin (scientific) name: Lonicera tatarica

Threat type

150x150 plants

History in Canada

  • introduced from Asia in the early 1800’s as ornamentals and still available from nurseries
  • most abundant in southern Ontario but occurs east to Nova Scotia and west to Alberta


  • a large, multi-stemmed shrub (to 5 m or 16 ft tall) that has pairs of egg-shaped leaves and fragrant white to dark pink flowers in spring
  • reproduces mainly by seeds found in paired, colourful, fleshy berries that develop abundantly after flowering
  • birds eat the berries and are responsible for much of the spread of Tartarian Honeysuckle since the seeds within the fruit pass through the bird without damage
  • tolerates a wide range of upland habitats including forests and woodland edges

Impact on Trees

  • often grow in dense stands that suppress native tree seedlings due to shade
  • may release toxic compounds that inhibit other plants

What can be done to control this tree killer?

  • cutting or girdling stems followed by herbicide application to the cut stems or later removal of sprouts that develop after cutting
  • herbicide application to the entire shrub
  • several years of control may be needed since seeds are unaffected by the above methods and seedlings can recolonize an area
  • prescribed burning may also reduce populations in open areas

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