Backyard Biodiversity: Bush Honeysuckle


Today's pollinator plant is TERRIBLE for Kentucky, but is everywhere thanks to bad decisions made in the 1800s that still affect our ecosystem today. Its name is bush honeysuckle or Amur honeysuckle. (Lonicera tatarica)

Pretty plant does NOT equal good for wildlife.

It is native to SIBERIA, and is adept at dealing with heavy shade in evergreen forests and subzero temperatures. In Kentucky climate, that means it is the first to leaf out in the spring and last to die in the fall.


Frederick Law Olmstead -- yes, that Olmstead -- purchased these bushes to ring Cherokee Park and thanks to birds they have spread to almost every forest in Kentucky. You may have noticed all of the bushes along I-64 and Beargrass Creek beginning to leaf out and become green. That is all invasive honeysuckle. While it looks beautiful, it is TERRIBLE for forests and for Beargrass Creek.

It smothers any plant underneath it, and the leaves block any sunlight from reaching seeds on the ground. While birds eat the berries, they are not as nutritious as native plants. Unless they are removed, they will reseed on YOUR property.

If you have any property along Beargrass Creek, PLEASE remove these shrubs and consider planting a native tree or shrub like spicebush instead! Stay tuned for videos including tips and tricks for identifying and removing this invasive pest from your property!

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