When Plants Attack

Bush honeysuckle is a tall, upright shrub. The shrubs generally lose their leaves in winter. The leaves are egg-shaped, 1 to 2.5 inches long, and arranged in pairs on either side of the stem. The older stems are often hollow. As the stems of native honeysuckle plants are never hollow, this is the best way to distinguish between a native and a bush honeysuckle.

The flowers are also in pairs along the stem, and vary in color from white to red. The fruits are red or orange berries with many seeds. Birds eat the berries and distribute the seeds widely.

There are native honeysuckles, too, so you may need to consult a book or a local expert  to make sure you know what plant you're dealing with.

Invasive bush honeysuckles grow in a dense layer that makes it impossible for native plants to survive. Sometimes there's nothing but dirt under the bush honeysuckles. They may compete with natives for pollinators, and their berries aren't as nutritious for birds.

If you have bush honeysuckle, you can take steps to destroy it and bring back native plants to your woods.

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