Pervasive honeysuckle plant under attack in St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

Pervasive honeysuckle plant under attack in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – The pervasive honeysuckle plant is under attack in the St. Louis area. Several groups will be out Saturday working to remove honeysuckle from public parks and trails.

Mitch Leachman, executive director of the St. Louis Audubon Society, says the plant spreads rapidly, kills native plants and flowers and disrupts wildlife.

"It grows very dense and it grows very early, about the earliest in the spring here in St. Louis and then holds its leaves the longest in the fall," Leachman said, "So the plant that greens up first in the spring, gets all the sunlight and then shades out anything that's underneath it."

Leachman also said that honeysuckle is not of interest to our native insects that eat plants.

"This is really important to other parts of the ecosystem specifically our huge population of songbirds that depend upon these very same insects for their diet, for raising their young," Leachman said, "So everywhere the bush honeysuckle grows there's really nothing there in the key parts of the breeding season for the birds to be eating."

According to Leachman, birds avoid honeysuckle because insects won't feed on it. The Audubon Society will work to remove honeysuckle from Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park tomorrow.

The Confluence Partnership is also hosting a Honeysuckle Removal event Saturday at the Riverfront Trail at Humboldt Avenue (1 Humboldt Avenue, St. Louis, MO) from 9 a.m. - noon.