Taxonomic name: Ligustrum vulgare L.
Synonyms: Ligustrum italicum Mill, Olea humilis Salisb.
Common names: aitalikusteri, common privet, European privet, gewone liguster, golden privet, wild privet
Organism type: shrub
Native to Europe and northern Africa, Ligustrum vulgare is a shrub that grows in sandy, loamy and clay soils. Ligustrum vulgare is a perennial shrub that has a maximum height of 4.5 metres and has many branches that flower. Ligustrum vulgare displaces native vegetation by forming dense thickets. Herbicides have been used to control Ligustrum vulgare when the plants are large but the most effective control method is to dig the plants out when they are small.
UConn (Undated) states that Ligustrum vulgare is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that is stout and multibranched. The leaves of L. vulgare can be oval or elliptical. They range from 2.5-6.35cm (1-2.5 in) and are dark green, glossy, and waxy in appearance. The leaves have a smooth edge and grow opposite each other on the stem (PDEP, 2004). In the fall the leaves turn purple (PDEP, 2004; UConn, undated). At the end of the branches you will find white flowers in a cluster with a strong fragrance. The bark of L. vulgare is smooth and gray-brown. The height of this plant averages 4.5m (PDEP, 2004). The flowers of the shrub are white, terminal panicles. They have lengths of 2.5-7.6cm (1-3 in). The fruit produced by L. Vulgare are small, black berries. These will form in late summer and early fall (PDEP, 2004).
According to PFAF (2004), Ligustrum vulgare prefers sandy, loamy, and clay soils. The shrub tends to grow in places with some shade and others with no shade. It can live in dry or moist soils and can tolerate drought and martime exposure (PFAF, 2004).
Richburget al (2001) states that Ligustrum vulgare displaces native vegetation by forming dense thickets.
Ligustrum vulgare is most commonly used as a landscape plant (PDEP, 2004) such as a hedge or border (UConn, undated). Its wood has been used to make charcoal and its young twigs have been used in basketry and hurdle making (PFAF, 2004).
Ligustrum vulgare is known to attract wildlife (PFAF, 2004). Dense thickets of L. vulgare provide cover for birds (PFAF, 2004). L. vulgare provides food for many catepillars.
Native range: Europe, Northern Africa, Mediterranean (UConn, undated, Hear, undated)
Known introduced range: New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Utah, Texas, Georgia (USA) (Cox, 2001; Hunter and Mattice, 2001; PCA, 2006; USDA, 2007)
The flowers are hermaphroditic (have both male and female parts) and are pollinated by insects (PFAF, 2004).
Ligustrum vulgare is a perennial shrub which means that is lives for more than two years (USDA, 2007).
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Friday, 3 August 2007