Sign up for the iWire to get breaking news, event info and the species spotlight.


Ligustrum japonicum

Japanese privet

Photographer: J. Scott Peterson
Source: USDA NRCS,


Evergreen shrub or small tree. Escaping from cultivation and established in fencerows, abandoned pastures, and low woodlands. Twigs greenish brown to gray, without hairs but with raised, corky dots (lenticels). Leaves opposite, petioled; blade firm textured, ovate to elliptic, up to 4 1/2 inches long and 2 inches wide pointed at the tip, and with smooth margins, upper surface dark green, smooth, glossy; lower surface lighter with a prominent, yellow, main vein. Flowers white, about 1/4 inch wide, petals bent back, in broad, dense clusters up to 8 inches long. Fruit berrylike, dark blue, 5/16 inch long and 1/4 inch wide, hanging on into winter.

Photographer: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

The developing fruit will become dark purple.

Photographer: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,