Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.

Japanese privet 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. Japanese privet 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. Japanese privet is sometimes set apart by the thickness and glossiness of the leaves. Glossy privet (L. lucidum W.T. Aiton) also has thick, glossy leaves, but the leaves are usually larger (3-6 in. [5-15 cm] long).

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