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.

Posted by: Rosalind Johnson - Leonard, Clearwater County
on: 2022-05-28 13:11:09

Several growing on an island on Clearwater Lake. NW Minnesota.

Posted by: Sherman - In Duluth near Page Pond by Joshua Ave
on: 2022-09-17 11:28:44

In early summer about 12 years ago, I was with my dog, exploring the woods in Duluth near Joshua Ave, by an old homestead off of Cedar ave. The house had burned down very many years before. There was a trail that connected from the homestead area to a trail that led to Page Pond. Walking off the path near the connecting trail, I noticed a pair of elongated red berries on a low bush. The plant wasn't very large. The leaves were fairly large and widely spaced. I didn't recognize it as a Honeysuckle, but identified it later.

Posted by: doc - Inver Grove Heights North Valley Disc Golf Park
on: 2023-07-29 11:56:57

By hole 12

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-07-29 14:41:10

doc, fly honeysuckle's range doesn't extend as far south as the Twin Cities so chances are what you see at the golf course is one of the non-native invasive honeysuckles, which are very common in the area, or possibly Lonicera dioica, a native vine.

Posted by: Luciearl - Lake Shore
on: 2023-08-15 22:44:02

Found on the edge of our woods near driveway.

Posted by: John - Houston County
on: 2023-09-06 16:04:17

When does the fruit ripen? If I can make a Suggestion, In the "Plant info" Table maybe under the "Bloom Season" also put Fruiting Season as well, It would help a lot. Inaturalist helps me guess/ roughly estimate ripening time. This Honeysuckle looks very morphologically very similar to Utah Honeysuckle (Lonicera utahensis). Do they both belong to the same subgenus and therefore able to Hybridize? Is it also possible to cross with Lonicera villosa or Lonicera caeruela? I have both on my property and thinking of bringing Lonicera utahensis & Lonicera canadensis over.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-09-07 08:25:57

John, we are not familiar with species outside of Minnesota so cannot speak to L. utahensis or any hybrids.

Posted by: betty karpen - lake county, little marais, along lake superior in the fores
on: 2024-05-20 08:35:57

shrub about 4 feet tall, flowers hanging down in sets of 2, small elliptical indented leaves. Many bees hovering around. I'm a plant person but have never seen this shrub before.

Posted by: John Lawrey - Duluth-Park Point Recreation Area
on: 2024-06-08 09:48:33

This was a new discovery for me! I saw it flowering on May 12th of this year. Wow! I love the fragrance.

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