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Japanese privet

Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.

USDA PLANTS Symbol: LIJA
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Shrub


Appearance
Ligustrum japonicum is a thick, evergreen shrub that grows up to 20 ft. (6.1 m) in height. The trunks usually occur as multiple stems with many long, leafy branches.
Foliage
Leaves are opposite, oval, up to 2 in. (5.1 cm) long, with a pointed apex and often with margins that are slightly rolled.
Flowers
Flowering occurs in spring to summer, when very abundant, white flowers occur in clusters at the end of branches.
Fruit
Fruits are 0.2 in. (0.5 cm) wide, dark purple to black berries (drupes) that persist into winter.
Ecological Threat
Ligustrum japonicum commonly forms dense thickets in fields or forest understories. It shades and out-competes many native species, and once established is very difficult to remove. Privet was introduced into the United States in the early 1800s. It is commonly used as an ornamental shrub and for hedgerows. Several privet species occur and they are very hard to distinguish. Ligustrum japonicum is sometimes set apart by the thickness and glossiness of the leaves. Glossy privet (L. lucidum) also has thick, glossy leaves, but the leaves are usually larger (3-6 in. [5-15 cm] long).


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service