Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Ligustrum vulgare - Common privet

Habitat / Range
"Mesic to dry waste places, roadsides and disturbed areas in the lowland zone; infrequent on SE Vancouver Island and rare in the lower mainland; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]

USDA Flower Colour: White
USDA Blooming Period: Mid Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:

Colour: Black
Present from Summer to Fall [USDA-E-flora]

"Ligustrum vulgare is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.[PFAF]
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution." [PFAF]

General: "Deciduous shrub up to 5 m tall; branches many, grey-barked, glabrous or sparsely hairy." [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: "Opposite, persistent, firm, dark-green, oblong to egg-shaped, 3-6 cm long, short-stalked, entire." [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: "Inflorescence of small, bell-shaped flowers in dense terminal panicles 3-6 cm long; corollas white or pale-purple, the tubes 2.5-3 mm long, about equal to the lobes." [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: "Drupes, 2-lobed, 1-2 seeded, black and hard." [IFBC-E-flora]


"Poisonous[10], though the toxicity is of a very low order and normally the consumption of the fruit leads to vomiting or no symptoms at all[65]." [PFAF]

Berries & Leaves

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Berries are a strong laxative, and the leaves and flowers are used to treat menstrual disorders. Studies have shown that a combination of privet and astragalus may be an immunostimulant.[PDBHM]


GLOSSY PRIVET (Ligustrum lucidum W. T. Aiton) ++ [HMH Duke]
"Activities (Glossy Privet) — Analgesic (f; DAA; FAY); Antiallergic (1; AEL); Antibacterial (1; FNF); Anticariogenic (1; LAF); Antiedemic (1; FNF); Antigingivitic (1; LAF); Anti-HIV (1; FNF); Antiinflammatory (1; AEL); Antimalarial (1; FNF); Antimutagenic (1; AEL); Antioxidant (1; AEL); Antipyretic (1; DAA); Antiseptic (1; FNF); Antitumor (1; AEL); Antiulcer (1; FNF); Antiviral (1; FNF); Cardiotonic (1; FAY; LAF); COX-2 Inhibitor (1; FNF); Diaphoretic (f; DAA); Diuretic (1; LAF); Hepatoprotective (1; AEL); Hypoglycemic (1; AEL); Hypolipemic (1; AEL); Immunomodulator (1; AEL); Pectoral (f; DAA); Phagocytotic (1; LAF); Radioprotective (f; FAY); Tonic (1; AEL); Uterotonic (1; LAF); Vulnerary (f; DAA)." [HMH Duke]

"Toxicity considered very low (FAY)." [HMH Duke]

"Extracts (Glossy Privet) — Brine, vinegar, white-wine, and yellow wine treated fruits were steamed and dried, and showed antilipoperoxidant activity 3.7 to 4.7 times stronger than raw nuzhenzi at 250 mg/ml. Clinical studies in U.S. and China suggest it helps raise white cell counts for leukopenia induced by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. “Use of the fruits to help enhance immune function following chemotherapy has real therapeutic potential for western medicine” (FAY)." [HMH Duke]

"Sow the seed in spring in a cold frame. Stored seed germinates better if it is stratified,[113]. Remove any fruit flesh from around the seed before it is sown since this can inhibit germination[113]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in outdoor seed beds in the autumn. You can leave the plants to grow on in the seedbed for up to 4 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Very easy[78]. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 - 30cm in a sheltered outdoor bed in November/December[78]. The cuttings can also be placed in situ if required. High percentage[78]." [PFAF]

"A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil that is not very impoverished[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a calcareous soil and succeeds in thin dry soils[186]. Grows well in light woodland or the full shade of a wall but flowers and fruits best in a sunny position[186]. Tolerant of atmospheric pollution, once established they also tolerate drought but are intolerant of water-logging[186]. A suckering shrub, forming dense thickets and making good bird cover[186]. An important food plant for many caterpillars, including the larvae of the privet hawk moth[186]. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]." [PFAF]


Oleaceae - Olive Family [E-flora]
Shrub, small tree, generally evergreen [deciduous], generally glabrous [hairy]. Leaf: simple, opposite, blade >> petiole, entire, thick. Inflorescence: terminal panicle, axes ± puberulent or not. Flower: bisexual; calyx minute, bell-shaped, 4-toothed, deciduous; corolla funnel-shaped or salverform, 4-lobed, white; stamens 2. Fruit: generally berry-like drupe, ± 8–10 mm wide, generally purple-black. Seed: 1–4.
± 45 species: eastern Asia, Malaysia to Australia, Europe, northern Africa; many cultivated for ornamental leaves. (Classical name of Ligustrum vulgare L.) [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Ligustrum vulgare - common privet [E-flora]

Privet - Ligustrum spp.


Ligustrum Species (Ligustrum japonicum, lucidum, vulgare);

Uses of Related Sp
AKA: Ligustrum lucidium. Effects: Its medicinal qualities are said to be similar to astragalus; it contains two potentially immune-regulating ingredients, syringin and a terpene compound. In China, it has been used to treat fatigue and prevent aging, in addition to being prescribed for infections, heart disease, body aches, dizziness, and tinnitus.
Dosage: From 6 to 15 g/day of a decoction made from the berries [Source Needed]


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