Bush Honeysuckle | St. Louis Public Radio

Bush Honeysuckle

Matthew Albrecht (at front), associate scientist at the Garden's Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development, and volunteer Eva Adams help during a honeysuckle sweep workday at Shaw Nature Reserve in 2018.
Mike Saxton | Shaw Nature Reserve

Bush honeysuckle isn't native to Missouri, but the species is flourishing in the state. The infestation has impacted the diversity and abundance of native plants, eliminated essential habitats for the insects that rely upon native plants, and has provided poor nutrition for birds, among other issues. The honeysuckle also escalates human exposure to Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, a tickborne bacterial infection, by increasing the activity of the tick host, whitetailed deer. 

In an effort to upset honeysuckle infestation, the Missouri Botanical Garden has organized public events and volunteer removal days to raise public awareness about the need for bush honeysuckle removal and the benefits of replacing it with native plants. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with the garden’s restoration outreach coordinator, Ali Brown, who is heading up the organization’s Honeysuckle Sweep Month

UMSL plans to remove bush honeysuckle, pictured here, from seven acres on campus.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a long-term effort to remove invasive plants from forested areas on campus.

The university received funding from the Missouri Department of Conservation in November to restore a total of seven acres. With help from St. Louis-based contractor Native Landscape Solutions, UMSL plans to eradicate invasive bush honeysuckle and replace it with native plants.

Gregory Ward, UMSL grounds supervisor, calls the project a “big reset button.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation says honeysuckle can affect lake and stream banks, marsh, fens, sedge meadow, wet and dry prairies, savannas, floodplain and upland forests and woodlands.
Missouri Department of Conservation

This week, in the hallowed halls of the historic Old Courthouse in St. Louis, a local woodworker sued a shrub.

In an educational mock trial held Wednesday, a jury heard the case against invasive bush honeysuckle. The plant was first introduced to the U.S. from eastern Asia in the 1700s and has since spread to at least 31 states, including Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 31, 2011 - Sixth grade students from The College School work with Tim Wood to cut down an invasive plant.

Sixth-grade students gather around Tim Wood, sustainability coordinator for the College School in Webster Groves, as he shows them a map of the property the students are about to improve. They then gather in a barn where he shows them how to use loppers and saws. Finally he takes the group into a woods and point outs the plants the sixth graders will be welcome to chop.

Honeysuckle plus deer equals abundance of ticks

Oct 11, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2010 - Invaders wreak havoc. No, we are not referring to Attila the Hun or Hagar the Horrible. In scientific context, invaders are plants or animals whose introduction by humans to a new environment allows them to displace native species and change the ecology of that area.