Grape Honeysuckle

Lonicera reticulata (formerly L. prolifera)


Illustration of grape honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Grape honeysuckle, Lonicera reticulata.
Paul Nelson

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckles)


Grape honeysuckle is a twining woody vine, sometimes somewhat bushy when no support is present.

Flowers in clusters at the end of stems on new growth; clusters arranged in 2–6 whorls or layers, which are usually separated along the stalk; flowers pale yellow, fragrant, ¾–1 inch long, tubular, slender, noticeably enlarged on one side at the base, smooth on the outside, hairy inside; tip of tube strongly spreading into 2 lips, one lip with a single narrow lobe, the other lip with 4 short lobes; stamens protrude beyond flower. Blooms April–June.

Leaves simple, opposite, connected by a broad base, pointed, the upper surface with a white (glaucous) coating. The inflorescence is subtended by a pair of leaves connected to form a disk about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Fruits crowded in heads at the ends of stems; clusters arranged in 2–6 whorls or layers, which are usually separated along the stalk; berries red to orangish red, globe-shaped, about ¼ inch across, fleshy.


Stem length: to 15 feet.

Habitat and conservation

Open woods, wooded slopes, bluffs ledges, upper slopes, wooded thickets. One quick way to tell this honeysuckle from the introduced and invasive Japanese honeysuckle is the pair of joined leaves just below the flower clusters: Japanese honeysuckle has no leaves joined in this fashion.

mage of Grape Honeysuckle Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Grows natively in the northern two-thirds of the state, but it is cultivated statewide.

Human connections

Their beautiful, fragrant flowers, attractiveness to hummingbirds and butterflies, and overall hardiness make honeysuckles popular in landscaping. Two of our worst invasive plants are introduced exotic honeysuckles, but this native species is not one of them. It is easy to grow but is not aggressive.

Ecosystem connections

The deep, tubular flowers provide nectar to pollinators able to reach inside. Hummingbirds have long, pointy bills and extendable tongues for this purpose. Birds and small mammals eat honeysuckle fruits in the fall. Deer browse the leaves and stems.