Lonicera japonica

Origin: East Asia
Size: 10m high spreading widely
Best removal time: August—January
Flowers: September—February
Fruits: November—March

What it does

This creeper is highly invasive and aggressive. It suckers and can form large mats on the ground and large masses in the canopy of trees. It smothers trees and shrubs and can restrict sap flow in the soft barked plants it grows around. It can also cause premature deterioration of fences and buildings.

What it looks like

Stems tend to be purplish and hairy when young, becoming woody with flaky bark on mature stems. Leaves are bright green and hairless except for hugging hairs along veins and margins. The white/cream coloured flowers are in pairs near the branch tips. Flowers have a strong, sweet scent. The fruit is a shiny black berry. Leaves and berries are toxic.

How it spreads

  • seed, however, it tends to spread more through branches taking root when contacting the ground
  • dumped garden waste and contaminated soil, contributing to its distribution
  • It is widely available at markets, fetes and nurseries. Buyer beware!


Hand removal

Hand removal is the best option as this method reduces site disturbance and allows more specific selection of species as opposed to spraying. Ensure that as much of the root system is removed to reduce the amount of regrowth.

Cut and paint

Cut the vines off at ground level and again about a metre high. Immediately paint both ends of the stem with an undiluted glyphosate-based product. This is useful for larger plants which cannot be easily hand pulled.

Indigenous alternatives to plant

Many plant alternatives exist that are indigenous to the Yarra Ranges region and would make great substitutes for this weed species. Some alternatives include:

How to dispose of weeds

  • By disposing of environmental weeds correctly you can prevent re-infestation on your property and elsewhere.
  • Landfill (Weed Wipeout Tip vouchers available for some species).
  • Green waste bins ensure that weeds are not able to spread.
  • Woody weed stems can be bundled for green collection twice per annum.
  • Composting (excluding seed heads or species with vegetative reproduction, e.g. Wandering Trad).
  • Burning in accordance with Council and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) prescribed burning periods and regulations.
  • Recovery and transfer stations available for weed tipping are Healesville, Wesburn, Coldstream, Lysterfield and Montrose.

Using chemicals

Non chemical treatments is often the most effective and safe option especially on smaller scale infestations.

Where chemical use is undertaken:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using chemicals.
  • Wear protective clothing and eyewear.
  • When purchasing your herbicide, always ask for a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or refer to the manufacturer’s website for specific safety guidelines and information.
  • Some herbicides will kill other plants and not just the target species.
  • When used near waterways herbicides can be very poisonous to aquatic life.
  • Use chemicals sparingly and be sure that you are using the right chemical and application technique.
  • Ensure the weather conditions are suitable (e.g. minimal wind and no rain expected).
  • Apply herbicides at the correct time during the plant’s growth cycle so you get the best results.