Yellow Honeysuckle

Lonicera flava


Illustration of yellow honeysuckle leaves, flowers, fruits.
Yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera flava).
Paul Nelson

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckles)


Yellow honeysuckle is a woody, trailing, climbing vine that can sometimes be shrublike.

Flowers are 1 inch long, tubular, with protruding stamens, in crowded, terminal clusters above a platterlike union of 2 joined leaves that clasp the stem, bright yellow or orange-yellow, lacking purple, rose, or brick red along the tube.

Blooms April–May.

Leaves are simple, opposite, sessile, thick, egg-shaped, with a gray, not white underside, tips round to blunt. Upper pair just below the flowers united at the base to form a disk that is about 6 inches across and 2 inches wide, sometimes rounded.

Fruit is a red or reddish-orange berry.

Key Identifiers

Pay attention to the platterlike pair of joined leaves beneath the flower clusters: The invasive exotic Japanese honeysuckle has no such united leaves.


Stem length: up to 13 feet.


Photo of yellow honeysuckle vine showing leaves and flowers
Yellow Honeysuckle

Yellow Honeysuckle

Yellow Honeysuckle
Yellow Honeysuckle
Yellow Honeysuckle blooms in April, Ellington, Reynolds County
Habitat and conservation

Occurs in openings and borders of rocky woods, on ledges and upper slopes above bluffs, and rocky ground along steams. Unlike the invasive Japanese honeysuckle, this plant is not aggressive and makes a wonderful trellis vine for the ecology-minded gardener.

image of Yellow Honeysuckle Distrbution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Found primarily in the Ozarks, but it is increasingly available at native plant nurseries and might be found in cultivation statewide.

Human connections

Beautiful, fragrant flowers, attractiveness to hummingbirds, and overall hardiness make honeysuckles popular vines for arbors. Yellow honeysuckle is more robust and colorful than the other native honeysuckles and is increasingly available at native plant nurseries. It has been cultivated since 1810.

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 animals eat the ripe berries of this native vine. Deer browse the stems and leaves.