Chinese Privet
Ligustrum sinense Loureiro
Oleaceae (Olive) Family

Plant is a small tree or shrub with slender, often leaning trunks; forming thickets. Trunk diameter is usually no more than four inches and height about 20 feet. Preferred habitat is wet soils bordering streams, swamps, lake edges, forests and at roadside. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are opposite; diamond-shaped or egg-shaped; blunt-pointed at both ends; small teeth beyond middle; almost hairless; long-stalked; yellow-green above, paler beneath.

Flowers are small, greenish-yellow, without petals and in small clusters along twig; male and female on separate plants. Flowering occurs in the spring and early summer.

Fruit is a berry, slightly curved, dark purple or black, thin pulp, large stone; in short clusters of several flowers each maturing in summer.

This Privet is often confused with the common Japanese Privet, Ligustrum japonicum, which is cultivated as an ornamental. The Japanese Privet leaf is larger and may show tiny red resin dots on the leaf underside. The Japanese Privet is considered to be invasive if its root system is not pruned. The scientific name describes the blunt-pointed or pinched sides of the leaf. All privets are known to withstand flood conditions, and are very useful for controlling erosion. Wild ducks consume the fruit.

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