Lonicera dioica (Wild Honeysuckle)

Plant Info
Also known as: Limber Honeysuckle, Red Honeysuckle, Glaucous Honeysuckle
Family:Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, shade; dry to moist; woods, thickets, rocky slopes, outcrops
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:5 to 10 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] A single cluster, occasionally 2, at the tips of 1-year-old branches, a cluster consisting of 1 to 5 whorls each with 6 stalkless flowers. Flower color is typically deep red to maroon, sometimes yellow and sometimes becoming yellow with age. Flowers are ½ to 1 inch long, with a long, slender tube and 2 lips, the upper broad with 4 lobes and the lower narrow and about as long as the tube. Outer surface is hairless, inner surface is hairy, especially in the throat. Protruding from the tube are 5 hairy stamens with pale tips and a long, slender, hairy style with a dome-shaped stigma at the tip.

[photo of ovary gibbous floral tube] At the base of the floral tube is a small hump, and between the flower and cluster stalk is the egg-shaped, green ovary. The cluster stalk is green and hairless. The leaf pair just below the flower are joined at the base, sometimes forming a cup around the cluster, the leaf pair typically oval-elliptic, the tips pointed, or rounded but with a tiny, sharp point (mucronate).

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are opposite, 1½ to 3½ inches long, 1 to 2½ inches wide, somewhat variable in shape, from lance-elliptic to egg-shaped to widest above the middle (obovate), rounded to blunt at the tip, and mostly rounded at the base. Edges are toothless, hairless and often a bit wavy. The upper surface is hairless, the lower a paler blue-green color and typically short-hairy but may be hairless. Besides the leaf pair at the tip of a flowering branch, the next 1 or 2 pairs below that may also be joined around the stem (perfoliate). Otherwise, leaves are stalkless or short stalked; stalks may be hairy.

[photo of lower stem] Twigs are green and hairless, older bark gray or brown and peeling. Branches are twining and may take root when they touch the ground, forming clonal plants.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a round to oval berry, bright red to orange-red, ¼ to ½ inch long.


Of the 3 vining honeysuckles in Minnesota, this is the most common, found throughout the state except in a few south and western counties. It is most likely to be confused with Hairy Honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta), which has proportionately broader leaves with a fringe of spreading hairs around the edge, hairs on both surfaces, glandular-hairy first-year twigs, and flowers that are more typically yellow. 2 varieties of L. dioica have been recorded in Minnesota: var. dioica with virtually hairless leaves is uncommon, and var. glaucescens with hairs on leaf undersides is found everywhere.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kathy - William O'Brien
on: 2015-05-23 18:41:10

Found along the Hiking Club Trail.

Posted by: Dorothy - Pillager
on: 2015-07-23 10:38:43

Found in the trees next to our driveway on the Gull River between Pillager and Baxter.

Posted by: Nancy - Carleton College Cowling Arboretum, Dakota County
on: 2016-05-13 21:50:18

Growing along a trail in a native woodland dominated by walnut, bur and red oak, elm and hackberry.

Posted by: Mary - St. Wendel township
on: 2016-05-24 17:18:06

We have seen this in a wooded across the road from us. It is in the ditch. Are the berries edible? Thank you.

Posted by: Christine - Big Sandy Lake roadside Atkin County
on: 2016-06-04 21:39:57

I noticed it right away because it was so unusual to see the flowers seemingly growing right from the middle of the leaf.

Posted by: luciearl - Fairview Township, MN
on: 2017-08-07 13:58:08

Was stumped because I had not seen this before. Cool little cluster of berries at the center of the leaf.

Posted by: Laurie H - Along Mississippi River Bemidji
on: 2017-08-08 21:36:45

I got help identifying the wild honeysuckle by posting my photos on kaxe season watch Facebook page.

Posted by: Janene Roessler - Fillmore County, Root River Bike Trail near Isinours
on: 2019-06-03 07:14:03

Beautiful example of this shrub in bloom near Isinours, along the Root River Bike Trail in Fillmore County.

Posted by: Jerry - Hermantown, St. Louis County
on: 2021-09-01 21:29:52

Found this plant growing wild along my gravel driveway in St. Louis County.

Posted by: Tim Crom - Central Cass County South of Longville, MN
on: 2021-09-12 22:42:56

On edge of my driveway at my cabin, Wabedo Lake, MN.

Posted by: Kate Gipp - William O'Brien State Park
on: 2023-05-25 21:47:56

Located alongside a small pond on the Hiking Club Trail in William O'Brien State Park.

Posted by: Jaron - Minneapolis
on: 2023-06-02 12:50:00

Has anyone reading this attempted to germinate any of the native Lonicera vines from seed? My apartment complex has 5-6 L. dioicas that do quite well and I'd like to try my hand at propagating them. Anyone's experience growing this plant (even failed experience) appreciated!

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