sweet breath of spring

Dipsacales > Caprifoliaceae > Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. & Paxton
Synonym(s): January jasmine

Sweet breath of spring is a multi-stemmed, upright, deciduous (evergreen in the South) shrub that grows from 6-10 ft. (1.8-3 m) tall. The stems are hollow with stringy, tan bark and are often purple when young. Leaves are opposite, round, 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm) long and wide and usually persist into winter. Flowering occurs in the late winter, when fragrant, tubular, 0.5 in. (1.5 cm) long, white to red or yellow, thin-petaled flowers develop in pairs in the leaf axils. The abundant berries are 1/3 in. (8.5 mm) in diameter and ripen to orange or red in the mid-summer and often persist throughout winter. Several species of exotic bush honeysuckles occur and distinguishing different species can be difficult. However, all have similar effects. Sweet breath of spring readily invades open woodlands, old fields and other disturbed sites. Its rapid spread is attributed to birds and mammals dispersing the seeds. It can form a dense understory thicket which can restrict native plant growth and tree seedling establishment. Sweet breath of spring is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into North America in the late 1800s. It has been planted widely as an ornamental and for wildlife food and cover.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Feature(s); leaves on twig in September
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); branch in September
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest

External Links

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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia