Diervilla lonicera

Low Bush Honeysuckle

Diervilla lonicera, Low Bush Honeysuckle

Low Bush Honeysuckle in Bloom
Photo © by Earl J.S. Rook

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Diervilla, for N. Dierville, a French surgeon credited with introducing it to Europe about 1700.
  • lonicera, from the Latin for honeysuckle, a reference to its honeysuckle-like appearance though it is not a "true" honeysuckle OR named for Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586), a German herbalist, physician and botanist who wrote a standard herbal text that was reprinted many times between 1557 and 1783
  • Common Name from its low growth form, compact shape, and similarity to the honeysuckles of the genus Lonicera
  • Other common names include Northern Bush Honeysuckle, Bush Honeysuckle, Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle, Life-of-Man, Yellow Flowered Upright Honeysuckle, herbe bleue


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons
      • Subclass Asteridae
        • Order Dipsacales
          • Family Caprifoliaceae, the Honeysuckles, with Linnaea (Twinflower), Lonicera (True Honeysuckles), Sambucus (Elderberries), Symphoricarpos (Snowberries), and Viburnum (Viburnums)
            • Genus Diervilla, the Bush Honeysuckles
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 35310
  • Also known as Diervilla diervilla, Diervilla trifida


  • A ¼, ½, ¾, º, é
  • Leaves
  • Stem
  • Roots
  • Flowers
    • Sepals
    • Petals
    • Stamens
    • Pistils
    • Ovary superior (within blossom) inferior (below flower)
  • Fruit
  • Seed
  • A low, deciduous, shrub, 2'- 4'
  • Leaves simple, opposite, toothed; fall color yellow to orange finally red.
  • Branches close to the ground, ascending slightly.
  • Roots fibrous, shallow laterals, stoloniferous, suckers.
  • Flower pale yellow to orange or purple red
  • Fruit a dry, woody, capsule


  • Identifiable as
  • Distinguished from
  • Field Marks


  • Newfoundland to Saskatchewan; south to Delaware; in the mountains to North Carolina; and west to Iowa.


  • Exposed, rocky sites and dry to mesic, well-drained soils.
  • Relatively insensitive to variation in light intensity.
  • Its abundance in Jack Pine communities usually remains relatively constant for a long time but declines in older (approximately 80 years of age) stands. In Jack Pine/Balsam Fir community types, most common on sites that have been cleared or burned within the past 30-50 years.


  • Regenerates rapidly after fire.
  • Sprouts from the rhizomes following top-kill by fire. Regeneration depends on growth from dormant buds on protected stem portions and rhizomes.





  • Sexually by seed
  • Flowers
  • Assexually by
  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes
  • From rhizomes, forming widely scattered clumps or patches.
  • Self sterile; successful seed set requires pollination by insects that have travelled from another clonal patch, usually some distance away. Dependent on pollinators such as bumblebees, butterflies, and, moths.
  • Flowers early June to early July; as late as August.
  • Fruit matures and releases seeds in September.


  • By rhizome division,


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Sun
    • Soil
    • Water
    • Spacing
    • Fertilization
  • Size 12"-18"W x 12"-18"H
  • Growth rate
  • Good for
  • Cultivars include
    • variety 'Alba', with
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries
  • Best grown on dry, infertile soils in cool climate. Adaptable to dry, compacted soils; tolerates high pH soils and windy conditions.
  • A low, mounded plant with bronze-green foliage. The yellow flowers are borne in summer. The plant tolerates dry, sandy soil and has excellent cold tolerance and is reported to be relatively pest free.
  • Relatively shade tolerant.
  • Soil texture coarse to fine; sands, gravels, loamy sands, sandy loams to clay loams, sandy clay loams, heavy clays.
  • Fast growing; short lived.
  • Transplants well. Available from nurseries.
  • Forms thickets; holds soil on bank



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Last updated on 29 August, 2004