Leycesteria formosa | Himalayan Honeysuckle
First reported in the wild
Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact
Introduction pathways - 1
Escape from Confinement
Introduction pathways subclass - 1
NAPRA Ireland risk assessed
A deciduous shrub, up to 2m tall; leaves oval 5-18cm long; tall green bamboo like stems; purple berries, 5-12mm (Booy et al., 2015)
No documented impacts recorded for Leycestria formosa, though appears to be expanding its range in Britain (Preston et al., 2004) and Ireland (Reynolds, 2002). Forms dense thickets that can exclude native vegetation (Booy et al., 2015).
Woodland, forest and other wooded land; Inland unvegetated or sparsely vegetated habitats; Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats; Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural or domestic habitat
Fruits are dispersed widely by birds (Heleno, 2011) and small mammals (Williams et al., 2000).
Pathway and vector description
Used as a hedging plant and as cover for pheasants (Preston et al., 2004; Reynolds, 2002), still widely sold as an ornamental so difficult to ascertain its expansion of range due to repeated introductions or natural spread. Fruits are dispersed by birds, particularly robins and chaffinches (Heleno et al., 2011).
Mechanism of impact
Typically found in hedgerows and on waste ground, occasionally found in woodland (Preston et al., 2004; Reynolds, 2002).
Established - Widespread, more common in the south east. Distribution is likely an artefact of recording effort.
Native to the Himalayas (Preston et al., 2004).
Date of first record category
Fifty year date category
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023
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How can you help
Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
Booy, O., Wade, M. & Roy, H. (2015) A Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain. Bloomsbury.
Heleno, R. H., Ross, G., Everard, A. M. Y., Memmott, J., & Ramos, J. A. (2011). The role of avian ‘seed predators’ as seed dispersers. Ibis, 153(1), 199-203.
Reynolds, S.C.P. (2002) A catalogue of alien plants in Ireland. National Botanic Gardens. Glasnevin, Dublin.
Preston, C.D., Pearman, D. A. & Dines, T. D. (2002). New atlas of the British and Irish flora. An atlas of the vascular plants of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, Oxford University Press.
Williams, P. A., Karl, B. J., Bannister, P., & Lee, W. G. (2000). Small mammals as potential seed dispersers in New Zealand. Australian Ecology, 25(5), 523-532.