American fly honeysuckle

(Lonicera canadensis)

Conservation Status
American fly honeysuckle
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


American fly honeysuckle is a straggly deciduous shrub. It occurs in northern United States from Maine to Minnesota, south to New Jersey and Indiana and along the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina, and in Canada from Nova Scotia to southern Manitoba. In Minnesota it is very common in the northeastern third of the state, where it is at the western extent of its range. It is found in moist to moderately dry upland coniferous and deciduous woodlands, sometimes in lowland forests and swamps. It grows in sandy or loamy soil under full to partial shade.

American fly honeysuckle is a perennial shrub that rises on one or more stems from a shallow root system. The stems are slender and branched. They can be up to ¾ in diameter at the base and 24 to 80 in height, but are usually no more than 40 tall. They may be erect or sprawl along the ground. When sprawling, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The branches are erect to horizontal (spreading). First year stems and branchlets are round in cross section, hairless, greenish to purplish, and smooth to the touch. Second year stems are brown to reddish-gray. The mass of spongy cells in the center of the stem (pith), best seen when the stem is sliced at an angle, is solid and white. The bark is thin, fibrous, and brown or reddish-gray. It peels in long strips that hang on the stem. When a leaf drops away, the scar that remains (leaf scar) is small and inconspicuous. Winter buds are small and pointed.

The leaves are opposite, 1316 to 3½ (3 to 9 cm) long, and 1 to 2 (2.5 to 5.0 cm) wide. They are on to ¼ (6 to 6 mm) long stalks (petioles). The petioles have a fringe of hairs. The leaf blades are lance egg-shaped, widest near the base, to almost elliptic, widest just below the middle. They may be rounded, slightly heart-shaped, or broadly-wedge-shaped at the base, and broadly or narrowly angled at the tip. The upper surface is dark green and hairless. The lower surface is lighter green and hairless or sparsely hairy. The margins are untoothed and have a fringe of hairs (cilia). The cilia may be hard to see, and may wear away as the leaf ages.

The flowers appear in early May to early mid-June. The inflorescence is a single pair of flowers rising from the leaf axils near the end of the current year’s stems and branches. Each flower pair is on a hairless, to ¾ long (1 to 2 cm) long stalk (peduncle). Each individual flower is stalkless.

The flowers are ½ to (12 to 22 mm) long. There are 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, 5 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and very short, less than 132 (0.2 to 0.6 mm) long. They are fused at the base then separated into 5 lobes. The petals are pale yellow and sometimes tinged with purple. They are fused at the base and for at least half their length into a narrow floral tube, then separated into five lobes. The stamens have pale yellow anthers and protrude a little beyond the floral tube. The style has a cap-like tip (stigma) and protrudes well beyond the floral tube.

The aggregate of fruit (infructescence) is a pair of soft, bright red, egg-shaped, ¼ to 716 (6 to 11 mm) long berries. The berries touch at the wide base and spread nearly horizontally. They mature in late early mid-June to early August.

and remain on the plant until picked off by birds or mammals.




24 to 40


Flower Color


Pale yellow


Similar Species

  Mountain fly honeysuckle (Lonicera villosa) leaf blades are widest at or beyond the middle. The upper leaf surface is hairy. The flowers are much smaller, no more than long. The infructescence is a single bluish-black berry.  

Moist to moderately dry. Upland coniferous and deciduous woodlands, sometimes in lowland forests and swamps. Full to partial shade. Sandy or loamy soil.




Early May to early mid-June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 28, 29, 30.








Very common in northeast Minnesota

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Dipsacales (honeysuckles, moschatels, and allies)  


Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)  
  Subfamily Caprifolioideae  


Lonicera (honeysuckles)  
  Subgenus Lonicera  

Subordinate Taxa






Xylosteon ciliatum


Common Names


American fly honeysuckle

American fly-honeysuckle

Canadian fly honeysuckle

fly honeysuckle













Narrowly oval, broadest at the middle, narrower at both ends, with the ends being equal.



In angiosperms, the stalk of a single flower or a flower cluster; in club mosses, the stalk of a strobilus or a group of strobili.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



The spongy cells in the center of the stem.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Extending nearly horizontal.

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    American fly honeysuckle      


    American fly honeysuckle      



  American Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  American Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis)  

Native, non-invasive




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  Dan Hill

Location: Franklin N.H.





Created: 2/4/2020

Last Updated:

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