Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Shrub
European privet is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 15 ft. (4.8 m) in height. The trunks usually occur as multiple stems with many long, leafy branches. Leaves are opposite, oblong, 1-2.4 in. (2.5-6 cm) long and 0.2-0.6 in. (0.5-1.5 cm) wide. Flowering occurs in June, when white flowers develop at the end of branches in 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm) long clusters. Fruits are spherical, 1/3 in. (8.5 mm) long, ripen to a dark purple to black color and persist into winter. Several privet species occur and they are often hard to distinguish. European privet belongs to the group of privets with smaller leaves (under 3 inches), which distinguishes it from glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum), for example.
Ecological Threat: Aggressive and troublesome invasives, often forming dense thickets, particularly in bottom-land forests and along fencerows, thus gaining access to forests, fields, and rights-of-way.
Biology & Spread: Colonize by root sprouts and spread widely by abundant bird- and other animal-dispersed seeds
History: Introduced from Europe in the early to mid-1800s. Traditional southern ornamentals.
U.S. Habitat: Aggressive and troublesome invasives, often forming dense thickets, particularly in bottom-land forests and along fencerows, thus gaining access to forests, fields, and right-of-ways. Shade tolerant. Colonize by root sprouts and spread widely by abundant bird- and other animal-dispersed seeds.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Europe, N. Africa (Alfred Rehder, Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs: Hardy in North America, The MacMillan Co., New York (1967)); Medit. reg (Bailey, L.H. and E.Z. Bailey, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York , (1977).); NatureServe Explorer
U.S. Present: AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV
Distribution: Southeastern United States
List All Observations of Ligustrum vulgare reported by Citizen Scientists
USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE
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Thoroughly wet all leaves with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant (August to December): a glyphosate herbicide as a 3-percent solution (12 ounces per 3-gallon mix) or Arsenal AC* as a 1-percent solution (4 ounces per 3-gallon mix).
For stems too tall for foliar sprays, apply Garlon 4 as a 20-percent solution in commercially available basal oil, diesel fuel, or kerosene (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix) with a penetrant (check with herbicide distributor) to young bark as a basal spray. Or, cut large stems and immediately treat the stumps with Arsenal AC* or Velpar L* as a 10-percent solution in water (1 quart per 3-gallon mix) with a surfactant. When safety to surrounding vegetation is desired, immediately treat stumps and cut stems with Garlon 3A or a glyphosate herbicide as a 20-percent solution in water (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix) with a surfactant
Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p
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