sweet breath of spring

Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. & Paxton

U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Shrub

Synonym(s): January jasmine

Lonicera fragrantissima is a multi-stemmed, upright, deciduous (evergreen in the South) shrub that grows from 6-10 ft. (1.8-3 m) tall. The stems are hollow with stringy, tan bark and are often purple when young.
Leaves are opposite, round, 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm) long and wide and usually persist into winter.
Flowering occurs in the late winter, when fragrant, tubular, 0.5 in. (1.5 cm) long, white to red or yellow, thin-petaled flowers develop in pairs in the leaf axils.
The abundant berries are 0.3 in. (8.5 mm) in diameter and ripen to orange or red in the mid-summer and often persist throughout winter.
Ecological Threat
Several species of exotic bush honeysuckles occur and distinguishing different species can be difficult. However, all have similar effects. Lonicera fragrantissima readily invades open woodlands, old fields and other disturbed sites. Its rapid spread is attributed to birds and mammals dispersing the seeds. It can form a dense understory thicket which can restrict native plant growth and tree seedling establishment. Lonicera fragrantissima is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into North America in the late 1800s. It has been planted widely as an ornamental and for wildlife food and cover.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance