Lonicera canadensis (Fly Honeysuckle)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, shade; woods and forests
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:2 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular

[photo of flowers] Hanging pairs of flowers at the tip of 1-year-old branches and arising from leaf axils near the branch tips, the pair of flowers at the end of a slender stalk up to 1 inch long. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch long, funnel-shaped, pale yellow sometimes tinged purple, with 5 flaring triangular lobes. Emerging from the tube are 5 pale yellow stamens and a long, slender, pale yellow style with a dome-shaped stigma at the tip. At the base of the floral tube, on the outside edge, is a small hump, and between the flower and stalk is the oval, green ovary. At the base of the ovary is a small, scale-like bract. The cluster stalk is slender and hairless.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are opposite, 1½ to 3½ inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, lance-elliptic to egg-shaped, blunt or pointed at the tip, rounded to somewhat heart-shaped at the base, on a short stalk. Edges are toothless but fringed in fine hairs (ciliate). Upper surface is hairless, lower is paler than the upper and may be sparsely hairy. Twigs are green to purplish, hairless, and solid with a white pith. Older bark is brown to gray and often peeling in strips. Branches are straggling and may take root where they touch the ground, forming clonal plants.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a pair of bright red, oval berries, each ¼ to 1/3 inch long, the pair pointing in opposite directions.


A common sight in Minnesota's woodlands and forests north of the Metro, Fly Honeysuckle is easy to ID from the pairs of flowers or bright red fruits, and leaves with ciliate edges. The flowers are similar to Mountain Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera villosa), which has a pair of flowers about half the size, sharing a single ovary and producing a single blue-black berry, and leaves hairy on both surfaces.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Pine County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Banning State Park, Pine County, and in various locations in northern Minnesota.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Marisa - Lake County
on: 2015-06-17 14:24:00

I saw this in the woods near Silver Creek (north of Two Harbors but south of Gooseberry Falls) in mid-May. I was in the woods where my dad grew up, but he had never seen this flower before, based on a photo I took. I hadn't either. I didn't notice any others nearby either. It was a very small shrub with only one pair of flowers, possibly some more buds further down the stem though. I hope it'll keep growing and I'll see more flowers on it next year!

Posted by: Brandon - Embarrass, St. Louis Co
on: 2016-05-07 18:46:00

These are blooming early May under a large balsam fir near the house. The flowers are yellow and pale lavender. I have never noticed it before but it is near two other species of lonicera.

Posted by: Gary - Carlton County
on: 2018-11-20 13:57:28

I've seen hummingbirds at the flowers of this species.

Posted by: Carrie Braaten - Makinen, on East Cabin Circle, Whiteface Reservoir
on: 2019-06-25 19:00:04

I saw this for the first time ever today, very near the shoreline on the lake. The berries are very distinctive, and I was interested in finding out if they are poisonous. Obviously the blossoms are gone now. It’s June 25, 2019.

Posted by: Cheryl Batson - swatara, mn
on: 2019-07-08 03:57:43

Got this on cabin property in Aiken County near Swatara, MN. The berry is pretty unique I think. I have yet to see this in bloom though I look forward to that!

Posted by: Mary M - Carlton County
on: 2020-05-18 17:19:04

I saw these a few days ago & grabbed a sample. These are leafed out & blooming ahead of everything except swamp currents & domestic honeyberries. It has been a chilly, dry spring so far.

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