European privet
Ligustrum vulgare L.


Ligustrum vulgare 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, lanceolate, 1-2.4 in. (2.5-6 cm) long and 0.2-0.6 in. (0.5-1.5 cm) wide.
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.
The abundant fruits are spherical, 0.3-0.05 in. (1-1.3 cm) long. Fruit begins green and ripens to a dark purple to black color and persists into winter. Birds and wildlife eat the fruit and disperse the seeds. Seed soil viability is about one year. It also colonizes by root sprouts.
Ecological Threat
Ligustrums can tolerate a wide range of conditions. They form dense thickets invading fields, fencerows, roadsides, forest understories, and riparian sites. They can shade out and exclude native understory species, perhaps even reduce tree recruitment. Native to Europe and Asia, they are commonly used as ornamental shrubs and for hedgerows.


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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

State Regulated List

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

Taxonomic Rank

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

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
wild privet


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub