|Mature shrub in summer|
Ligustrum vulgare (wild privet, also sometimes known as common privet or European privet), is a species of Ligustrum native to central and southern Europe, north Africa and southwestern Asia, from southern England and southwestern Sweden south to Morocco, and east to Poland and northwestern Iran.
It is a semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub, growing to 3 m (rarely up to 5 m) tall. The stems are stiff, erect, with grey-brown bark spotted with small brown lenticels. The leaves are borne in decussate opposite pairs, sub-shiny green, narrow oval to lanceolate, 2–6 cm long and 0.5–1.5 cm broad. The flowers are produced in mid summer in panicles 3–6 cm long, each flower creamy-white, with a tubular base and a four-lobed corolla ('petals') 4–6 mm diameter. The flowers produce a strong, pungent fragrance that many people find unpleasant. The fruit is a small glossy black berry 6–8 mm diameter, containing one to four seeds. The berries are poisonous to humans but readily eaten by thrushes, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.
Plants from the south of the range show a stronger tendency to be fully evergreen; these have sometimes been treated as a separate variety Ligustrum vulgare var. italicum (Mill.) Vahl, but others do not regard it as distinct.
In the British Isles it is the only native privet, common in hedgerows and woodlands in southern England and Wales, especially in chalk areas; it is less common in northern England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, where it only occurs as an escape from cultivation.
Cultivation and uses
- 'Aureum' – yellow leaves.
- 'Buxifolium' – small, oval leaves not over 2.5 cm long.
- 'Cheyenne' – cold-tolerant clone selected in North America.
- 'Chlorocarpum' - berries green.
- 'Insulense' – long, narrow leaves 5–11 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad.
- 'Leucocarpum' – berries greenish-white.
- 'Lodense' – dense, dwarf shrub (the name is a portmanteau of 'low' and 'dense').
- 'Pyramidale' – fastigiate.
- 'Xanthocarpum' – berries yellow.
The species is listed as invasive as an introduced plant in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. It is also fully naturalised in Mexico's highlands and Argentina.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ligustrum vulgare.|
- Flora Europaea: Ligustrum vulgare
- Plants for a Future: Ligustrum vulgare
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Ligustrum vulgare
- Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
- Bean, W. J. (1978). Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles vol. 2: 576-577. ISBN 0-7195-2256-0.
- Flora of Northwest Europe: Ligustrum vulgare
- The Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Britain p.52.
- Flora of Northern Ireland: Ligustrum vulgare
- Potential Environmental Weeds in Australia: Appendix C
- Canadian Botanical Conservation Network: Information on Invasive Shrub and Vine Species
- Protecting and Restoring our Natural Heritage: Appendix one: Invasive weeds
- 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.
- Invasive species: European privet
- Plantas medicinales. Virtudes insospechadas de plantas conocidas. 1987. Reader's Digest México S.A. de C.V. Printed by Gráficas Monte Albán S.A. de C.V. Querétaro, Mexico. ISBN 968-28-0099-4