Ligustrum sinense, Chinese Privet

Invasive Species April 30, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Ligustrum sinense, Chinese Privet

Chinese privet invades and damages native ecosystems. Privet's dense growth shades out native plants, especially in the forest understories and along riparian corridors. Chinese privet is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to 20 ft (6.1 m) in height. Trunks usually occur as multiple stems with many long, leafy branches. Leaves are opposite, oval, pubescent on the underside of the midvein, and less than 2 in. (5 cm) long. Flowering occurs in late spring, when small, white flowers develop at the ends of branches in clusters that are 2 to 3 in. (5 to 7.6 cm) long. Fruit are oval, fleshy, and less than 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long. They ripen to dark purple to black and persist into winter. Several privet species occur, and distinguishing among them can be difficult. Chinese privet can tolerate a wide range of conditions. Plants form dense thickets, invading fields, fencerows, roadsides, forest understories, and riparian sites. They can shade out and exclude native understory species, perhaps even reducing tree recruitment. Native to Europe and Asia, Chinese privet was introduced in the United States in 1852 as an ornamental plant. It is commonly used as an ornamental shrub and for hedgerows.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Scrophulariales > Oleaceae > Ligustrum sinense Lour.

Synonym(s): common Chinese privet, common privet

Ligustrum sinense - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Chinese privet - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices - Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Shrub

Non-native privet is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to 20 ft (6.1 m) in height. Trunks usually occur as multiple stems with many long, leafy branches.

David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia,  bugwood.org Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University,  bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are opposite, oblong, 1 to 2.4 in. (2.5 to 6 cm) long, and 0.2 to 0.6 in. (0.5 to 1.5 cm) wide. Foliage can be pubescent along the underside of the midvein.

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,  bugwood.org Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,   bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs from April to June, when panicles of white to cream flowers develop in terminal and upper axillary clusters. Pollen can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,  bugwood.org Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,   bugwood.org

Fruit

The abundant fruits are spherical and 0.3 to 0.5 in. (1 to 1.3 cm) long. Fruit begins green, ripens to dark purple to black, and persists into winter. Birds and other wildlife eat the fruit and disperse the seeds. Seed soil viability is about one year. The plant also colonizes by root sprouts.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,  bugwood.org Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service,  bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Chinese Privet

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

- Images at invasive

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Chinese Privet

Chinese privet - Images at invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Chinese Privet

Ligustrum sinense Identification Card - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ligustrum sinense Fact Sheet - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ligustrum sinense Fact Sheet - UW-Extension Weed Science

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your Land-Grant University's College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in 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 - Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (SE-EPPC)

Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service

Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)


 

Connect with us

  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Welcome

This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org

LOCATE

USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.