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Lonicera caerulea

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This article discusses cultivation, uses and preservation of Lonicera caerulea (Honeyberry / Haskap berry), a cool temperate climate shrub with edible fruit in the honeysuckle family. The plant may perform moderately well as part of the shrub layer in a temperate climate forest garden.

Background Information

Approximately 180 honeysuckle species are identified. They are arching shrubs or twining vines, some are fragrant and are grown as garden ornamentals. Most have mildly poisonoius berries. Other edible honeysuckles include Lonicera augustifolia (Narrow-leaf Honeysuckle) and Lonicera villosa (Mountain Fly Honeysuckle).


Family: Caprifoliaceae ("honeysuckle family")

Genus: Lonicera

Species: L. caerulea

Common names

  • Honeyberry
  • Sweetberry Honeysuckle
  • Haskap (haskappu, hascap, hascup)
  • Blue-berried Honeysuckle / Blue honeysuckle
  • Deepblue Honeysuckle
  • Bluefly honeysuckle
  • Edible honeysuckle
  • Swamp fly honeysuckle


Lonicera after Renaissance botanist Adam Lonicer.W

Caerulea/caeruleus dissimilation of caeluleus, derived from caelum (“sky, heaven”) +‎ -uleus (diminutive suffix indicating small size or youth).

Haskap from Ainu language meaning "little present on the end of the branch".


Originally cultivated as a food crop in Siberia, northern China and northern Japan, now also in Canada.




Native to:

Albania, Amur, Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Chita, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Korea, Kuril Is., Magadan, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Primorye, Romania, Sakhalin, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia

Introduced into:


[Source= Plants of the World Online][1]


Mature height 1.2-1.5 m (5"), spread 1.5 m (5")[2][3]

Fruits 0.8-1.0cm long, dark blue.

Growth Habit

Fast growing, deciduous shrub.[4] Not a climber, unlike the common ornamental honeysuckles.[5]


At least 2 plants needed for good cropping.

Flowering from late winter[2] to spring (March-April in UK).[3] Flowers frost tolerant.[3]

Fruiting in summer.



Soil Type

Tolerant of most soils.[3] Well-drained, organic matter rich soil is ideal.[2]

Soil pH

Tolerates acidic and alkaline soil.[2]

Shade Preference

Full sun

Shade Tolerance

Moderate shade, cropping reduced




Easy to grow


Other sources advise Potted or bare rooted plants in winter.[3]

Forest Gardening

Companion Planting



Semi ripe cuttings in late summer. Hardwood cuttings in winter.[3]


Low maintenance. Annual application of balanced fertilizer.[2] Over fertilization will lead to vigorous growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.[2] Mulch around base of plant.




Resistant to pests and disesases.[4]


Harvest when berries darken and soften.[3]

Stores for about 1 week.


  • Freezing


Berries can be eaten raw.

  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Fruit leather

Secondary uses:


Generally speaking, can substitute for blueberry in recipes, e.g. in pies or crumbles.[5] Seeds are very small, so no need to sieve.

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Nutritional Values

  • High in antioxidants (3x higher than blueberries).
  • High in Vitamin C
  • High in calcium


  1. Lonicera caerulea (Plants of the World Online).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Honeyberry (Royal Horticultural Society).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Crawford, M (2016). Creating a Forest Garden: working with nature to grow edible crops. Green Books. ISBN 9781900322621.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pemberton, T; Gearing, D; Marsh, C; (2019). Edible Shrubs. Plants for a Future. ISBN 9781791954949.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Whitefield, P (1996). How to make a Forest Garden. Permanent Publications. ISBN 9781856230087