Chinese privet
Ligustrum sinense Lour.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: common privet
  • LEAVES: opposite, simple, tardily deciduous; blades oval, ca. 1-1.5” long, margins entire and crisped (wavy in the vertical plane), blade surfaces dull green
  • FLOWER: flowers white to yellowish, in showy panicles in spring, very fragrant
  • FRUIT: ellipsoid dull black drupes to ca. 0.3” long
  • TWIGS: orange-brown, densely pubescent with spreading hairs; with raised tan lenticels
  • BARK: smooth, light mottled gray to brownish-gray
  • FORM: large shrub to small tree, typically with multiple stems, to ca. 20’ tall
  • HABITAT: moist forests, abundant on edges, fence rows, old fields; can invade mesic pine grasslands in the absence of fire
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: Native to China, introduced in southeast US; invasive! [MAP]  [MAP]
  • USES: ornamental, hedges
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. multi-stemmed shrub to small tree of mesic sites
    2. leaves opposite, oval, dull green, margins crisped
    3. dull black drupes in panicles
    4. fragrant white flowers in showy panicles in spring

    NOTES: the difference between Ligustrum vulgare (anthers same length as petals, twigs lightly pubescent) and Ligustrum sinense vulgare (anthers length longer than petals, twigs very pubescent) is of debate; sometimes treated as synonyms of each other