Lonicera japonica Thunb., also known as Jin Yin Hua and Japanese honeysuckle, is used as a herbal medicine in Asian countries. Its flowers have been used in folk medicine in the clinic and in making food or healthy beverages for over 1500 years in China. To investigate the molecular processes involved in L. japonica development from buds to flowers exposed to UV radiation, a comparative proteomics analysis was performed. Fifty-four proteins were identified as differentially expressed, including 42 that had increased expression and 12 that had decreased expression. The levels of the proteins related to glycolysis, TCA/organic acid transformation, major carbohydrate metabolism, oxidative pentose phosphate, stress, secondary metabolism, hormone, and mitochondrial electron transport were increased during flower opening process after exposure to UV radiation. Six metabolites in L. japonica buds and flowers were identified and relatively quantified using LC-MS/MS. The antioxidant activity was performed using a 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl assay, which revealed that L. japonica buds had more activity than the UV irradiated flowers. This suggests that UV-B radiation induces production of endogenous ethylene in L. japonica buds, thus facilitating blossoming of the buds and activating the antioxidant system. Additionally, the higher metabolite contents and antioxidant properties of L. japonica buds indicate that the L. japonica bud stage may be a more optimal time to harvest than the flower stage when using for medicinal properties. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.