Conservation Biology

Bell’s Honeysuckle

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Bell's Honeysuckle. U.S. Forest Service.

Bell’s Honeysuckle

Lonicera ×bella Zabel [morrowii × tatarica]


This article was produced by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Staff, Newtown Square, PA. WOW 04-17-06.  Invasive Plants Website.


Common Names

Bell's honeysuckle, Bella honeysuckle, pretty honeysuckle, showy bush honeysuckle


Native Origin

Eurasia; deliberate hybridizations of this plant were made in Russia before 1889.



Bell’s honeysuckle is the hybrid of Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) and Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica), making identification difficult. It is an upright deciduous shrub in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae), reaching a height to 20 feet. Stems are hollow and are sparsely pubescent. The leaves are opposite, oblong or oval in shape, slightly hairy, and 1 - 2.5 inches long. The flowers vary but are usually pink, fading to yellow, hairy, 0.2 to 0.6 inches long and appear in May to early June. The berries are spherical, red in color and found in pairs. The fruit ripen in late summer or early fall. The seeds are rather flat and ovate in shape. Seeds are often dispersed by birds.



Adapted to a variety of habitats, it thrives in sunny sites including open forests, forest edges, roadsides, pastures abandoned fields, fens, bogs, and lakeshores. It is relatively shade intolerant.



This species is reported from states shaded on Plants Database map. It is reported invasive in CT, IL, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NY, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, and WI.


Ecological Impacts

Some infestations have spread from horticultural plantings, wildlife habitat improvement plantings and erosion control plantings. This plant’s vigorous growth and early spring leaf-out inhibit growth of native shrubs and ground layer species reducing wildlife food and cover. It reduces the richness and cover of herb communities and delays establishment of new seedlings. If not controlled, plants can become massive in size and eventually replacing native plants by crowding out, shading, and depleting soil of moisture and nutrients.


Control and Management

Control methods should be repeated for 3 to 5 years to deplete seedbank.

  • Manual - Cut or dig out when soil is moist; remove all shallow roots; and
  • Chemical - It can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate or triclopyr. Follow label and state requirements.






Service, U. (2013). Bell’s Honeysuckle. Retrieved from