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Toxic parts

The leaves contain saponins[1]. 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].

Edible uses


Leaves - cooked. The parboiled leaves are used as a vegetable[2]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Flowers - sucked for their sweet nectar[2], used as a vegetable or made into a syrup and puddings[2].

A tea is made from the leaves, buds and flowers[3][2].



Unknown part


Material uses

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[4][5]. The sub-species L. japonica repens is especially used for this purpose on the continent[6]. The cultivar 'Halliana' has also been recommended[7][4]. This cultivar should be clipped back severely in the spring if it gets untidy, it responds well to such conditions[8]. Plants should be spaced about 1 metre apart each way[8].

The plant is said to be insecticidal[9].

The stems have been used in making baskets[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The stems and flower buds are alterative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge[11][12][13][14][15]. The plant is also used to reduce blood pressure[12][13][15].

The stems are used internally in the treatment of acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps and hepatitis[15]. The stems are harvested in the autumn and winter, and are dried for later use[15]. The stems and flowers are used together as an infusion in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) and dysentery[15]. 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[12][13][9][16][15][17]. Experimentally, the flower extracts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and are antibacterial, antiviral and tuberculostatic[16][17]. Externally, the flowers are applied as a wash to skin inflammations, infectious rashes and sores[15]. The flowers are harvested in early morning before they open and are dried for later use[15]. The plant has a similar action to Forsythia suspensa and is usually used in combination with that species to achieve a stronger action[13].

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[16].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber or Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 months cold stratification[18] 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[19]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15 - 20cm with or without a heel, November in a cold frame. Good percentage[19].

Layering in autumn[5].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Lonicera japonica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a good moist soil with its roots in the shade and its top climbing into the light[5]. Succeeds in any soil in part shade[20]. Established plants are drought tolerant[21]. They succeed in dry shade, the cultivar 'Halliana' is especially recommended for such a situation[7].

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[20]. The foliage can be damaged in severe wind-chill conditions but the plant usually recovers in the spring[22]. Fruit is only formed after a hot summer[22]. A rampantly growing plant[21], it climbs by twining around other plants[6] and makes an excellent screen for a north or east facing fence or an unsightly object[21]. This species has the potential to become a rampant weed, it has escaped from cultivation in N. America whre it can outcompete native species[23]. The plant has powerfully scented flowers. The white-flowered cultivar 'Halliana' has a pronounced lemon-like perfume[24].

There are several named varieties, developed for their ornamental value[6][5].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Lonicera japonica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Lonicera japonica.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Lonicera japonica
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Flowers (Unknown use)
  • Leaves (Unknown use)
  • Unknown part (Tea)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Basketry)
  • Unknown part (Insecticide)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Antibacterial)
  • Unknown part (Antiinflammatory)
  • Unknown part (Antispasmodic)
  • Unknown part (Antiviral)
  • Unknown part (Depurative)
  • Unknown part (Diuretic)
  • Unknown part (Febrifuge)
  • Unknown part (Skin)
  • Unknown part (TB)
  • Unknown part (VD)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    5 x 5 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
    5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    6. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    7. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    12. ? Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    13. ? Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    15. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    16. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    17. ? Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
    18. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    21. ? Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
    23. ? Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
    24. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    25. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-11
    26. ? Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)

    Cite error: <ref> tag with name "PFAFimport-50" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.