Elisha's Tears

(Leycesteria formosa)

Elisha's tears flower cluster, photo: T. Rudman

    What is Elisha's tears?

    • Elisha's tears is an environmental weed of wet forests, woodlands and stream-sides
    • Elisha's tears is a declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of Elisha's tears is prohibited in Tasmania.

    How to identify Elisha's tears

    • Elisha's tears (sometimes called Himalayan honeysuckle) is a deciduous, long-lived shrub growing to a height of 3 to 4 metres. Arising from a root crown just below the soil surface, the bamboo-like (hollow) stems are 2 to 4 cm in diameter and may be upright or horizontal.
    • Leaves are dark green on the upper surface, paler green and lightly hairy underneath with prominent veins.
    • Flowers occur in clusters of six in pendulous hanging chains. Each cream-purple, funnel-shaped flower is 1.5 cm long and tubular, and enclosed by leaf-like purple-green bracts, which are easily mistaken for the flower itself. Flowering usually occurs from late spring to summer.
    • The fruit is an oval-shaped berry, 6 to 10 mm long, and reddish purple to black.
    Elisha's tears
    Image top: Elisha's tears flower cluster, © T. Rudman.
    Image above: Elisha's tears in flower.

    Elisha's tears in Tasmania

    • Elisha's tears occurs in wetter forests and woodlands in Tasmania's north-east, north-west, west and south.
    • Elisha's tears invades cool moist forests, woodlands and riparian (stream-side) areas. Elisha's tears can invade both disturbed and undisturbed bush, forming dense thickets that can smother other vegetation and prevent regeneration, displacing both native plants and animals.

    What is the legal status of Elisha's tears in your area?

    What you need to do

    If you locate Elisha's tears anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be Elisha's tears, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

    Detailed management and control guidelines for Elisha's tears can be found in the Elisha's Tears Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Elisha's Tears Control. For further information see Weed Links and Resources.

    See also
    Herbicides for Elisha's Tears Control
    Statutory Management Plan for Elisha's Tears
    Weed Links and Resources

    Other useful links:
    Pest Genie

    Elisha's Tears Control Guide

    Spread of Elisha's tears

    • Elisha's tears reproduces by seed and stem layering.
    • Mature plants can produce hundreds of fruit over summer and autumn, with each fruit containing up to 100 seeds. Seed is dispersed by birds and possibly by foxes and possums, in water, by slashing and during removal of the weed.
    • Stem layering occurs where stems contact moist soil and send down roots. Dislodged fragments of stem that fall on moist soil may also regenerate. Vegetative (stem) material can be spread by slashing and during removal of the weed.

    Physical removal

    • Seedlings or small plants can be hand-pulled or dug out, taking care to remove any crown that has developed, as well as any layered stems.
    • The material should be disposed of by burning where safe to do so, or by piling plants where they cannot layer.
    • Care should also be taken to remove fruit to prevent accidental seed dispersal during disposal.
    • Large plants can have extensive root systems, and digging out or mechanical removal may lead to soil erosion. Alternative control options should be considered for larger plants.


    • Elisha's tears is not killed by shading from other plants, so the establishment of competition is not an effective means of control.
    • Where Elisha's tears has been removed, re-establishing native vegetation can inhibit the germination of Elisha's tears seed.
    • Re-establishing native vegetation can also be useful in stabilising stream-banks after weed removal.

    Chemical control

    Herbicides for Elisha's Tears Control

    Herbicides for Elisha's Tears Control

    Important Disclaimer
    To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.