Lonicera hirsuta (Hairy Honeysuckle)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; sandy or rocky soil; woodland edges, forest clearings, thickets, stream banks, forested swamps
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:3 to 16 foot vine
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
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: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] 1 to 3 clusters at the tips of 1-year-old branches, a cluster consisting of 1 to 5 whorls each with 6 stalkless flowers. Flower color is usually yellow, sometimes orange to red and a single cluster may have flowers covering the whole color range. Flowers are ½ to 1 inch long, with a long, slender tube and 2 lips, the upper broad with 4 lobes and the lower narrow and shorter than the tube, both lobes often tightly rolled under. Outer surface is finely glandular-hairy, inner surface is hairy, especially in the throat. Protruding from the tube are 5 slender stamens with yellow tips and a long, slender style with a dome-shaped stigma at the tip. The base of the floral tube is slightly swollen on one side, and between the flower and cluster stalk is the egg-shaped, green ovary.

[photo of uppermost fused leaves] The leaf pair just below the flower are joined at the base, forming a disk around the cluster, the fused leaf pair oval-elliptic to round, the tips pointed or rounded. Cluster stalks are green and finely glandular-hairy.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are opposite, 2 to 5 inches long, 1½ to 3 inches wide, toothless, broadly egg-shaped to oval-elliptic, rounded or pointed at the tip, rounded or somewhat tapering at the base. Besides the leaf pair at the tip of a flowering branch, the next pair below that may also be joined around the stem (perfoliate). Otherwise, leaves are stalkless or short stalked; stalks are glandular-hairy. The upper surface is dark green and variably covered in soft hairs, the lower pale and more densely hairy especially along the veins, and the edges are fringed in fine hairs.

[photo of glandular hairy stem] New twigs are green and variably covered in short glandular and longer non-glandular hairs, becoming gray-brown and hairless the second year. Older bark is thin, gray and peeling. Stems are few-branched and loosely twine around nearby vegetation for support. They may take root when they touch the ground, forming clonal plants.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a round to oval berry 1/3 to ½ inch long that ripens to orange-red.


Of the 3 vining honeysuckles in Minnesota, Hairy Honeysuckle is the hairiest, and Minnesota is at the southwestern edge of its range. The velvety hairy leaves and glandular hairy stems and stalks distinguish it from both Wild Honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica) and Grape Honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata).

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Carlton, Lake and St. Louis counties.


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

Posted by: Jane - Tofte, Cook county, mn
on: 2016-08-21 15:07:17

we have this growing in the woods by our road.

Posted by: Janet W - McGrath MN
on: 2017-06-24 14:52:28

I live in Aitkin County and this is the first time I've seen this bush. It's in a low damp area along my road that I fast walk every day. So far I've only seen one bush. Some of the flowers are doubled lawyer , its very pretty yellow and orange red blooms.

Posted by: Maxine Hughes - lake vermilion
on: 2018-06-16 20:36:57

Found growing up a hazel nut bush in my back yard

Posted by: Neil J Beaverson - Upper Hay Lake, Crow Wing County
on: 2019-08-06 13:17:49

single flower growing on a Hazelnut bush in oak woods, sandy soil. Also a yellow flowered plant and a red flowered plant on campsite in boundary waters, lake one

Posted by: John Boland - Scanlon
on: 2020-06-28 13:30:33

I found what I think might be hairy honeysuckle on the bike path between the Scanlon Park & Ride parking lot and Carlton. It is growing about a foot off the ground. The plant has pointed leaves. Could I send you a couple of photos to confirm? Thanks

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-06-28 13:41:45

John, if you'd like confirmation please post your images on the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page.

Posted by: Rick Northup - At our Campground North of Bemidji
on: 2020-07-01 08:46:11

Found one of these just jump up one year at our campground. Trying to train it up a Spruce Tree.

Posted by: LeAnn Plinske - St. Mathias Township
on: 2021-05-26 12:54:09

Found blooming this week in St. Mathias Park and Heritage Trails, south of Brainerd, east of Fort Ripley.

Posted by: Carole J Chauncey - Red Wing MN
on: 2022-05-14 19:33:38

Trying to figure out what is Buckthorn and invasive Honeysuckle. iNaturist thinks my 4' little shrub is Hairy Honeysuckle. It's at the edge of the woods of my childhood home.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-05-15 08:06:19

Carole, if it was planted it could be anything, but if it is a naturally occurring population it is unlikely to be hairy honeysuckle. If you check the distribution map you'll see it isn't known to be as far south as Red Wing. Grape honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata) is very similar and does grow wild in your area. The most obvious difference is hairy honeysuckle is hairy where grape honeysuckle is not. Both are also vines, which should separate them from buckthorn and most non-native honeysuckles. Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica) is also a vine but isn't known to be in the wild in Minnesota at this time.

Posted by: Carole J Chauncey - Red Wing
on: 2022-05-15 20:31:12

THANKS Blossoms came out further and with updated photos iNat now identified it aa Morrows Honeysuckle. The furry leaves sure threw me!

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-05-16 06:57:00

Carole, the fact that Morrow's honeysuckle is a shrub, not a vine, should have been a giveaway.

Posted by: Angie Robinson - Grand Marais
on: 2023-06-27 17:00:41

Found this in my wooded back yard in Grand Marais. Leaves are velvety soft.

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