Ligustrum ovalifolium, also known as oval-leaved privet, is a semi-evergreen shrub in the privet genus Ligustrum. The species is native to Japan. It is sometimes known as Japanese privet, but is not to be confused with Ligustrum japonicum which may also be called by this common name.
The plant flowers in midsummer, the abundant white blooms producing a unique pungent fragrance, unpleasant to some. They are borne in panicles. They have four curled-back petals and two high stamens with yellow or red anthers, between which is the low pistil; the petals and stamens fall off after the flower is fertilized, leaving the pistil in the calyx tube. Flowering starts after 330 growing degree days. The fruits, borne in clusters, are small purple to black drupes, poisonous for humans but readily eaten by many birds. In favorable growing conditions, individual shrubs may produce thousands of fruits.
Several cultivars are used in gardens and for hedging, including the Golden privet, L. ovalifolium 'Aureum', which has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Privet hedges need to be trimmed several times during a growing season, in order to maintain their shape. Regularly trimmed plants do not produce flowers or fruit.
Privet is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Common emerald, Common marbled carpet, Copper underwing, The Engrailed, Mottled beauty, Scalloped hazel, Small angle shades, The V-pug and Willow beauty.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Agate, Elizabeth (1998). Hedging: a practical handbook. British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. p. 125. ISBN 0946752176.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Ligustrum ovalifolium 'Excelsum Superbum'". Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Swearingen, Jil; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B; Zwicker, S. (2010). Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, 4th Edition. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p. 71.
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