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Glossy Privet Ligustrum lucidum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
lig-GUS-trum loo-sid-um
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Glossy privet is an open, leggy, large shrub or small tree in the Oleaceae (olive) family that can grow up to 50' tall.

This shrub is drought-tolerant, is often used as a screening plant, and tolerates severe pruning. It is also tolerant of drought, dry conditions, and alkaline soils. It is not as cold-hardy as Ligustrum japonicum. 

This plant blooms in late spring to early summer, 2-3 weeks later than Ligustrum japonicum. Flowers are very pungent and may induce asthma in some people.  Fruits are enjoyed by birds and add to the spread of the plant so prune off flowers before they set fruit.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are opposite with an opaque rim along margins
  • 6-8 lateral veins sunken on the undersurface
  • Terminal panicles with persistent dark fruit

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Whiteflies, Japanese and ligustrum weevils, white peach scale, and privet rust mites are common insect problems.  Anthracnose, twig blight, cankers, powdery mildew, root rot are common disease problems.  Susceptible to copper deficiency.  It can be weedy in disturbed areas has escaped and naturalized in moist areas and it is considered invasive in California and Florida.  The berries produced by this plant are toxic. Dogs can be adversely affected by eating the berries or leaves of privet. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Carolina Gold
  • 'Excelsum Superbum'
  • Marble Magic
  • Variegata = Howardii
Carolina Gold, 'Excelsum Superbum', Marble Magic, Variegata = Howardii
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#weedy#high maintenance#showy fruits#fast growing#large shrub#poisonous fruits#deer resistant#alkaline soils tolerant#screening#fantz#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#malodorous
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Carolina Gold
  • 'Excelsum Superbum'
  • Marble Magic
  • Variegata = Howardii
Carolina Gold, 'Excelsum Superbum', Marble Magic, Variegata = Howardii
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#weedy#high maintenance#showy fruits#fast growing#large shrub#poisonous fruits#deer resistant#alkaline soils tolerant#screening#fantz#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#malodorous
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ligustrum
    Species:
    lucidum
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Southern China to Hainan and Southern Korea
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruit attracts birds
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are 1/4 inch, semi-fleshy, berry-like drupes that are blue-black in color. They persist into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Small, perfect, creamy white flowers on 5-8" pyramidal panicles bloom in the early summer. Flowers are 4-parted, tubular, in terminal clusters, and have an unpleasant odor.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are glossy, green, opposite, simple, coriaceous, with 6-8 pairs of lateral veins that are sunken on the undersurface. Veins are translucent when they are held up to light. Leaves have an opaque, smooth rim along the margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Malodorous
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Ingestion causes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, weakness, low blood pressure, cold and clammy skin possibly lasting 48 to 72 hours
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Glycosides: syringin (ligustrin), a glycoside; shikimic acid (lowest toxic dose 4,000mg); and others
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves