Japanese privet

Scrophulariales > Oleaceae > 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).

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.org

Click on each thumbnail to download the image at 1536x1024 resolution or below for available resolutions.
Use 768x512 for Microsoft PowerPoint and use 1536x1024 for Prints and Publications.

Foliage; July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

J. Scott Peterson, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

J. Scott Peterson, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South

External Links

footer line
USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia