Leycesteria formosa | Himalayan Honeysuckle



Conservation status

Not Assessed

First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Ornamental purpose

Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


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


Broad environment


Habitat description

Typically found in hedgerows and on waste ground, occasionally found in woodland (Preston et al., 2004; Reynolds, 2002).

Species group


Native region

Temperate Asia


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread, more common in the south east. Distribution is likely an artefact of recording effort.

Native distribution

Native to the Himalayas (Preston et al., 2004).

Temporal change

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.