The Caprifoliaceae or honeysuckle family is a clade consisting of about 800 dicotyledonous flowering plants, with a nearly cosmopolitan distribution; centres of diversity are found in eastern North America and eastern Asia, while they are absent in tropical and southern Africa.

They are mostly shrubs and vines, rarely herbs, including some ornamental garden plants in temperate regions. The leaves are mostly opposite with no stipules (appendages at the base of a leafstalk or petiole), and may be either evergreen or deciduous. The flowers are tubular funnel-shaped or bell-like, usually with five outward spreading lobes or points, and are often fragrant. They usually form a small calyx with small bracts. The fruit is in most cases a berry or a drupe. The genera Diervilla and Weigela have capsular fruit.


(with approximate numbers of species).

Much of the debate over the taxonomy of plants in Dipsacales has been settled. Two of the most familiar members of Dipsacales, the elderberry (Sambucus) and the viburnum, formerly in Caprifoliaceae, have been moved into Adoxaceae, along with some other genera.

The evolutionary taxonomy of Dipsacales:









No longer included in Caprifoliaceae:

(regarded by some as belonging to a separate family Alseuosmiaceae (order Asterales)

(regarded by some as belonging to a separate family Carlemanniaceae (order Lamiales)


The plants belonging to this family are mainly hardy ornamental shrubs or vines, many popular garden shrubs, especially Abelia, Lonicera, and Weigela. A few have become invasive weeds outside of their native ranges (such as Lonicera japonica).


  • Flowering Plants of the World, 1987, Vernon H. Heywood, Andromeda Oxford Ltd., ISBN 90-5210-165-5
  • Botanica, Gordon Cheers, Random House Australia, ISBN 3-8290-1953-X

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