Which Honeysuckle is Poisonous? A Comprehensive Guide

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about honeysuckle. But did you know that not all honeysuckles are safe to ingest? That’s right – there is a particular species of honeysuckle that can actually be poisonous. If you are an amateur forager or simply enjoy the taste of honeysuckle tea, it’s essential to know which honeysuckle is hazardous to your health.

The honeysuckle in question is known as the Japanese honeysuckle. While this species is undoubtedly beautiful and boasts white, fragrant flowers, it can also cause some severe side effects. Japanese honeysuckle berries, in particular, are considered toxic and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma in some cases. So, before you start brewing your next cup of honeysuckle tea, double-check which species of honeysuckle you are using.

Before you start cursing honeysuckle altogether, note that other species of honeysuckle are entirely safe to consume. In fact, honeysuckle is known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammation and infections. So, if you’re a fan of honeysuckle, fear not – just make sure to steer clear of the Japanese honeysuckle and indulge in the other delicious and beneficial types of honeysuckle available.

Types of Honeysuckle Plants

Honeysuckles are known for their sweet fragrance, beautiful blooms, and versatile uses. However, not all honeysuckle plants are edible and some can be toxic. It’s important to identify the different types of honeysuckles to avoid the ones that are harmful to humans and pets.

  • Japanese Honeysuckle – Also known as Lonicera japonica, this type of honeysuckle is commonly found in many gardens across the globe. Japanese honeysuckle produces fragranced yellow or white blooms, which develop into dark berries in the fall. Even though Japanese honeysuckle is not toxic, its thick, fast-growing vines can be invasive and overpower other plants.
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle – Lonicera sempervirens, also known as trumpet honeysuckle, is a native plant found in the eastern United States. It produces reddish-orange tubular flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. Both the flowers and berries are edible but are rarely eaten.
  • European Honeysuckle – Lonicera periclymenum, commonly called European honeysuckle is native to Europe and Asia. This deciduous shrub has small fragrant blooms that range from white to yellow and pink. European honeysuckle is not poisonous, but some people may be allergic to it.
  • Woodbine Honeysuckle – Lonicera periclymenum, commonly known as woodbine honeysuckle, is a native European vine that has been naturalized in the eastern United States. It produces fragrant blooms that range from white, cream to yellow and pink. Its berries are not poisonous but are not commonly used for food. Woodbine honeysuckle is a favorite of many butterfly species and is considered to be an important nectar source.

It is important to note that while honeysuckles are generally non-toxic, there are some types of honeysuckles that are poisonous. For example, the Hall’s Japanese honeysuckle, also known as Lonicera japonica ‘halliana’, is considered to be a noxious weed in the United States and can cause severe digestive issues if ingested.

Overall, honeysuckles are a beautiful addition to any garden, but it’s important to identify the different types and be aware of any potential hazards that may arise when planting them.

Honeysuckle Plant Name Description Notes
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) Fast-growing vine with fragranced yellow or white blooms that develop into dark berries in the fall. Not toxic, but can be invasive
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Native to the eastern United States, produces reddish-orange tubular flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. Both the flowers and berries are edible but rarely eaten.
European Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) Native to Europe and Asia, produces small fragrant blooms that range from white to yellow and pink. Not poisonous but some people may be allergic to it.
Woodbine Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) A native European vine that has been naturalized in the eastern United States, produces fragrant blooms that range from white, cream to yellow and pink. Berries are not poisonous but not commonly used for food.

Whether you’re planting honeysuckles for their fragrant blooms or hummingbird attractions, it’s important to be aware of the different types and their potential hazards. By choosing the right type of honeysuckle, you can enjoy all the benefits of these beautiful plants without any health risks.

Identifying Poisonous Honeysuckle

If you’re a keen gardener, then you’re probably familiar with honeysuckles. These pretty, fragrant flowers are a popular addition to gardens all over the world. However, not all honeysuckle plants are created equal. Some species are actually poisonous and can cause serious health issues if ingested. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how to identify poisonous honeysuckle.

  • Flowers: One of the easiest ways to identify poisonous honeysuckle is by looking at the flowers. Poisonous honeysuckle flowers tend to have a more yellowish color that lacks the sweet fragrance of non-poisonous varieties.
  • Berries: Another way to identify a poisonous honeysuckle plant is by looking at the berries. Poisonous honeysuckle berries are usually red or orange in color and have a translucent skin. They’re also smaller than non-poisonous species of honeysuckle, so this is a good way to tell them apart.
  • Leaves: The leaves of poisonous honeysuckle plants are another good way to identify them. They tend to be more elongated than the leaves of other species, and they’re often a darker shade of green. In addition, the edges of the leaves may be smooth rather than serrated.

If you’re still not sure whether or not a honeysuckle plant is poisonous, there are a few other things you can look out for. For example, the stems of poisonous honeysuckle plants tend to be a bit woody and have a few visible ridges. Also, if the plant has grown aggressively and has a sort of weedy look to it, this might be an indication that it’s poisonous.

To sum up, identifying poisonous honeysuckle can be tricky, but it’s definitely doable. By paying close attention to the color, size, and characteristics of the flowers, berries, leaves, and stems, you’ll be much better positioned to figure out which species are safe and which should be avoided.

Poisonous Honeysuckle Species Non-Poisonous Honeysuckle Species
European Fly Honeysuckle Japanese Honeysuckle
Trumpet Honeysuckle Orange Honeysuckle
Black Twinberry Honeysuckle Coral Honeysuckle

It’s important to note that some honeysuckle plants can be toxic to certain individuals, even if they’re not technically poisonous. For example, people who suffer from hay fever might get an allergic reaction from inhaling the scent of honeysuckle flowers, even though the plant itself isn’t poisonous.

Symptoms of Poisoning from Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are known for their sweet fragrance and are often used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, not all honeysuckle varieties are safe to consume, and some can even be poisonous. Poisoning from honeysuckle can occur if the flowers, berries, or stems are ingested. In this section, we will discuss the symptoms of poisoning from honeysuckle.

  • Stomach Caches: Consuming poisonous honeysuckle can cause severe stomach cramps. The victim may feel nauseous and may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Respiratory Problems: Inhaling the fragrance of honeysuckle can cause breathing problems in sensitive individuals. If the amount ingested is too much, then it can cause difficulty in breathing and may require immediate medical attention.
  • Nervous System Disorders: Some varieties of honeysuckles contain toxins that can affect the nervous system. This can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, and even convulsions.

If you experience any of these symptoms after ingesting a honeysuckle plant, seek medical attention immediately. Also, try to rinse your mouth with milk or water to dilute the toxins in your system. Drinking plenty of water can help flush the toxins out of your system.

Here are a few additional measures you can take to avoid poisoning from honeysuckle:

  • Buy honeysuckle products only from reputable sources. Avoid purchasing the plant from roadside vendors or other unreliable sources.
  • Carefully examine the plant before consumption. If it looks wilted, discolored, or has an unusual smell, it may be contaminated with toxins.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the honeysuckle plant.

Knowing the symptoms of poisoning from honeysuckle can help you take prompt action in case of an emergency. Be aware of the risks and take precautions when dealing with this plant.

Symptoms Treatment
Stomach Cramps, Nausea and Vomiting Drink plenty of water or milk to flush out toxins and manage symptoms.
Breathing difficulties Seek immediate medical attention and follow the prescribed treatment.
Nervous system disorders Get medical help immediately in case of convulsions or seizures.

It is advisable to consult a doctor before using honeysuckle plants in any form, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Poisonous Honeysuckle Berries

Honeysuckle is a beautiful, fragrant plant that is often used in landscaping and as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. However, some species of honeysuckle contain toxic berries that can cause serious health problems if ingested. In this section, we will discuss some of the most poisonous honeysuckle berries and the dangers they pose.

  • Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii): This invasive species of honeysuckle is known for its red berries, which are highly toxic if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.
  • Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica): While the flowers of Japanese honeysuckle are commonly used in teas, the plant’s black berries are highly toxic. Ingesting these berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • European Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum): This popular ornamental plant produces red berries that are poisonous to both humans and animals. Ingesting these berries can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and in rare cases, can lead to respiratory failure.

It’s important to note that not all species of honeysuckle produce toxic berries. In fact, some species are edible and even have medicinal properties. However, it’s always safest to avoid eating any berries from a plant unless you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so.

If you have children or pets that may come into contact with honeysuckle plants, be sure to educate them about the dangers of eating the berries. You may also want to consider removing any potentially toxic honeysuckle plants from your yard or garden in order to prevent accidental ingestion.

Honeysuckle Species Toxic Berries
Lonicera maackii Red berries
Lonicera japonica Black berries
Lonicera periclymenum Red berries

In conclusion, while honeysuckle is a beautiful and useful plant, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of certain species. Educate yourself and your loved ones about which honeysuckle plants produce toxic berries, and take steps to avoid contact with these plants.

Toxicity of Honeysuckle Nectar

If you’re an avid nature lover, chances are, you have come across honeysuckle plants and their sweet intoxicating scent. However, not all things are as sweet as they seem, as some honeysuckle plants may contain poisonous nectar.

  • Japanese Honeysuckle: The nectar of the Japanese Honeysuckle plant contains saponins, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested in large quantities.
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle: Trumpet Honeysuckle, also known as Coral Honeysuckle, does not contain poisonous nectar, making it safe for hummingbirds and humans alike to enjoy.
  • European Honeysuckle: European Honeysuckle plants contain carotenoids and glycosides, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea when consumed in large quantities.

It’s important to note that while the nectar of some honeysuckle plants may be poisonous, it’s relatively rare for humans to suffer severe reactions from ingesting it. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid ingesting the nectar of honeysuckle plants altogether, especially if you have children or pets that may accidentally consume them.

Below is a table that details the toxicity levels of honeysuckle nectar:

Honeysuckle Plant Toxicity Level
Japanese Honeysuckle Moderate
Trumpet Honeysuckle Non-Toxic
European Honeysuckle Moderate

It’s important to identify the type of honeysuckle plant in your area to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Treating Honeysuckle Poisoning

If you suspect that someone has been poisoned by honeysuckle, seek medical attention immediately. The treatment for honeysuckle poisoning will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the type of honeysuckle involved. Here are some treatment options:

  • Inducing vomiting: If the honeysuckle has been ingested, the first step in treatment may be to induce vomiting to remove as much of the toxin as possible. However, this should only be done under the guidance of a medical professional.
  • Activating charcoal: Activated charcoal can be used to absorb toxins in the digestive system, reducing their effects on the body. Your doctor may recommend activated charcoal as part of the treatment for honeysuckle poisoning.
  • Fluid replacement: If the patient has experienced vomiting or diarrhea, it is essential to replace fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. This can be done using intravenous fluids or oral rehydration solutions.

If the symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be necessary. In this case, the patient may be given oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation to help with breathing, and other supportive care such as medications to control seizures or blood pressure may be provided.

It’s important to note that some species of honeysuckle can cause more severe symptoms than others. If you are unsure what type of honeysuckle caused the poisoning, it’s best to consult a medical professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Type of Honeysuckle Severity of Poisoning Symptoms
Japanese honeysuckle Mild to moderate
Trumpet honeysuckle Mild to moderate
European honeysuckle Moderate to severe

Remember that prevention is always the best course of action. If you have young children or pets, it’s essential to keep them away from honeysuckle plants. If you’re growing honeysuckle in your garden, make sure it’s a non-toxic variety, and always wear gloves when pruning or handling the plant to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

Safe Alternatives to Poisonous Honeysuckle

While some honeysuckles are toxic, there are many safe alternatives for gardeners who want to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these vines. Here are some options:

  • Trumpet Honeysuckle: This flowering vine is native to North America and produces clusters of red or yellow tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Winter Honeysuckle: This deciduous shrub produces fragrant white flowers in late winter or early spring and is ideal for borders or hedges.
  • Hall’s Honeysuckle: This evergreen vine produces fragrant white or yellow flowers in the spring and summer and is perfect for covering a fence or trellis.

These honeysuckles are not only safe for humans and pets, but they also provide important food and habitat for pollinators. Planting these alternatives can help support healthy ecosystems in your garden.

If you’re not sure which honeysuckle is safe for your area, consult with a local nursery or gardening expert. They can help you choose the right plants for your landscape and provide tips on proper care and maintenance.

How to Safely Remove Poisonous Honeysuckle

If you have poisonous honeysuckle growing in your garden, it’s important to remove it safely. Here are some tips:

Wear gloves and protective clothing when handling poisonous honeysuckle. Contact with the leaves, stems or sap can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

Use pruning shears or a pruning saw to cut the vines and branches as close to the ground as possible. Do not pull or twist the vines, as this can spread the seeds and increase the risk of re-growth.

Bag the cuttings and discard them in the trash. Do not compost or burn the cuttings, as this can release toxins into the air and soil.

Once the poisonous honeysuckle has been removed, consider planting a safe alternative in its place. This will not only improve the safety of your garden, but also enhance its beauty and ecological value.

Poisonous Honeysuckle Species Safe Alternative
Japanese Honeysuckle Trumpet Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle Winter Honeysuckle
Amur Honeysuckle Hall’s Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are beautiful and beloved plants, but it’s important to be aware of their potential dangers. By replacing poisonous varieties with safe alternatives, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these vines while protecting your family, pets, and local ecosystems.

Which Honeysuckle is Poisonous FAQs

Q: Are all honeysuckles poisonous?
A: No, not all honeysuckles are poisonous. Some are even used in traditional medicine.

Q: Which honeysuckle is poisonous?
A: The Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is the most poisonous species of honeysuckle.

Q: How poisonous is Japanese honeysuckle?
A: Japanese honeysuckle contains toxic substances that can cause gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ingesting large amounts can even lead to death in some cases.

Q: What are the symptoms of honeysuckle poisoning?
A: The symptoms of honeysuckle poisoning include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can cause breathing difficulties and even coma.

Q: Can I use Japanese honeysuckle for medicinal purposes?
A: No, Japanese honeysuckle should not be used for medicinal purposes. It contains toxic substances that can cause serious health problems.

Q: How can I identify Japanese honeysuckle?
A: Japanese honeysuckle has white or yellow tubular flowers with a sweet fragrance. Its leaves are oval shaped and grow opposite each other on the stem.

Q: Can I still enjoy honeysuckle in my garden?
A: Absolutely! Just make sure to plant the non-poisonous varieties like the American honeysuckle (Lonicera americana) or the trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).


Thanks for reading about which honeysuckle is poisonous! While some varieties can be harmful, there are still many safe and beautiful options to enjoy in your garden. Be sure to do your research and choose the right variety for your needs. We hope you found this article helpful and come back again for more gardening tips and advice.