Bush honeysuckles are large, upright, spreading shrubs reaching up to 15–20 feet in height, with flowers that change from white to yellow, juicy red berries, and opposite, simple leaves that green up much earlier than surrounding native vegetation.
Leaves are deciduous, opposite, simple, 1–2½ inches long, narrowly oval with the tip abruptly pointed, the margin entire (not toothed or lobed); upper surface green, lower surface pale green and fuzzy. In late autumn, leaves typically remain green and attached well after the leaves of our native trees and shrubs have fallen.
Bark is grayish brown, tight, with broad ridges and grooves.
Twigs are grayish brown, thornless; often the older branches are hollow.
Flowers May–June, fragrant, in clusters from the leaf axils, tubular, 1 inch long, slender, distinctly 2-lipped, with upper lip having 4 lobes, lower lip with 1 lobe. Petals change from white or pink to yellowish as they age.
Fruits mature in September–October; typically red berries about ¼ inch across, 2–6 seeded, in pairs in the axils of the leaves.