Japanese privet
Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.


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.
Leaves are opposite, oval, up to 2 in. (5.1 cm) long, with a pointed apex and often with margins that are slightly rolled.
Flowering occurs in spring to summer, when very abundant, white flowers occur in clusters at the end of branches.
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).


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Ligustrum
Subject: Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub