Privet

Ligustrum lucidum Aiton., Ligustrum sinense Lour., Ligustrum vulgare L.

Synonyms -

Family: Oleaceae.

Names:

Ligustrum is Latin for Privet.
Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum). Lucidum is Latin for shiny and refers to the glossy leaves.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense). Sinense is Latin for Chinese and refers to its country of origin.
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare). Vulgare is from the Latin vulgaris meaning common.

Other Names:

Broadleaf Privet, Tree Privet (NZ) (Ligustrum lucidum)
European Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Small-leaf Privet (Ligustrum sinense)

Summary:

Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) is a perennial, deciduous shrub up to 5 m tall with many stout branches and clusters of small white flowers at then ends of branches that produce black, berry-like fruit. It has opposite leaves that are smooth underneath.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a perennial, evergreen to semi evergreen shrub up to 5 m tall with many stout branches and clusters of small white flowers at then ends of branches that produce black, berry-like fruit. It has opposite leaves up to 7 cm long that are hairy on the midrib underneath. Twigs are also hairy.
Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is a fast growing, evergreen, hairless shrub or small round headed tree to 10 m tall with egg shaped leaves up to 12 cm long.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Opposite.
Stipules -
Petiole - 10-20 mm long.
Blade - L lucidum is dark green, glossy on the upper surface, oval, and 50-130 mm long x 30-60 mm wide. L. sinense is dull on the upper surface with rounded tips and a hairy midrib on the underside.

Stems:

L. lucidum is hairless.
L. sinense has densely hairy shoots.

Flower head:

Sprays of small white flowers. L . lucidum has broadly pyramid shaped panicles, 250 mm long x 200 mm wide. L. sinense has loose panicles, 100 mm long

Flowers:

Fragrant, small and white, 6 mm diameter.
Ovary -
Sepals -
Petals - Tubular with 4 bent back lobes. L. sinense has a tube that is 2 mm long with 3 mm long lobes.
Stamens -
Anthers - L. lucidum has yellow anthers. L. sinense has purple anthers.

Fruit:

Bluish black, berry like with a powdery coating. L. lucidum has elliptical, 6 mm long x 5 mm wide fruit. L. sinense has spherical 4-6 mm diameter fruit.

Seeds:

Many.

Roots:

Key Characters:

Opposite leaves with petioles.
Sprays of small white, tubular flowers.
Bluish black berries.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial.

Physiology:

Hardy.

Reproduction:

Pollinated by insects.

Flowering times:

L. lucidum November to March in New Zealand.
L. sinense July to March in New Zealand.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Produces large amounts of seed.

Vegetative Propagules:

Produces suckers.

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by suckers and bird distributed seed.

Origin and History:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is from China, Japan and Lord Howe Island.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is from China and Lord Howe Island.
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) is from south west and central Europe and North Africa.
They were all introduced as ornamentals and for hedges.

Distribution:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) - ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) - ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC.
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) - ACT, NSW, SA, TAS.

Yellow = Ligustrum lucidum. Red = Ligustrum sinense. Blue = Ligustrum vulgare.
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) - Ornamental, hedge plant, honey, shelter.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) - Ornamental, hedge plant, shelter, honey.
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) - Ornamental, hedge plant, shelter

Detrimental:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) -Invasive woody weed of waterways, open forests and roadsides. It forms dense thickets that crowd out other species.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) - Invasive woody weed of waterways, open forests, roadsides. Pollen causes allergies. Invasive weed of the USA. It forms dense thickets that crowd out other species.
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) - Invasive weed of the USA.
Weeds of disturbed areas and coastal cliffs.
All are garden escapes and often invasive in urban bushland.
Most species cause hay fever.

Toxicity:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) - Fruit and leaves are toxic. Believed to cause allergies and asthma but doesn't produce wind borne pollen.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) - Fruit and leaves are toxic. Believed to cause allergies and asthma but doesn't produce wind borne pollen.
Violent purging and death of children have occurred after eating Privet berries.

Symptoms:

Violent purging in children

Treatment:

Legislation:

Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is a noxious weed in parts of NSW.
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a noxious weed in parts of NSW.

Management and Control:

Prevent establishment of seedlings because once they become established they are very difficult to control.
Very difficult to control manually.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Spray the foliage of actively growing plants with glyphosate. Paint the stumps of freshly cut plants with glyphosate.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)

Plants of similar appearance:

Buddleia, Cotoneaster, Japanese Pepper.

References:

Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P191-192. Photos.

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Gardner, G.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956). The toxic plants of Western Australia. (West Australian Newspapers Ltd, Perth). P149.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #584.

Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P58-59. Photos.

Roy, B., Popay, I., Champion, P., James, T. and Rahman, A. (1998). An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand. (New Zealand Plant Protection Society). P194-195. Photo

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.