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Ligustrum sinense

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

Chinese Privet is a shrub or small tree that grows 61⁄2-13" tall. Its fetid flowers bloom in late spring and have an odor that can be offensive to many people. It has become an invasive weed in the southeastern US. It can form an impenetrable thicket and produces toxic berries. 'Variegatum', a cultivar, has leaves that are bordered in gray to creamy white coloring. Chinese Privet may revert to the species, so odd branches need to be removed. It is a fast grower and requires a lot of maintenance. It is alkaline tolerant, pollution tolerant, shade tolerant, and tolerant of poor soils. It has pest problems. The Chinese Privet is grown in the landscape as an evergreen ornamental shrub.  It can be weedy in disturbed areas around buildings and has escaped and naturalized in moist areas.

Listed as invasive in North Carolina by:

Not listed as invasive in North Carolina by:

Quick ID Hints:

  • Opposite, elliptic, small leaves are 1-2" long 
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Sunshine'
  • 'Swift Creek'
  • 'Variegatum'
    variegated foliage, smaller
'Sunshine', 'Swift Creek', 'Variegatum'
Tags:
#fragrant#white#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#white flowers#shade tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#deer resistant#odor#spring interest#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#poor soils tolerant#malodorous
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Sunshine'
  • 'Swift Creek'
  • 'Variegatum'
    variegated foliage, smaller
'Sunshine', 'Swift Creek', 'Variegatum'
Tags:
#fragrant#white#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#white flowers#shade tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#deer resistant#odor#spring interest#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#poor soils tolerant#malodorous
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ligustrum
    Species:
    sinense
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the fruit.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Chinese privet is resistant to damage by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 6 in. - 13 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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)
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are clusters of black, semi-fleshy, berry-like drupes that birds like to eat.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Creamy white foetids are less than an inch large on 2-3" terminal panicles. Flowers bloom in the late spring and have an unpleasant odor.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, simple, elliptic to elliptic-oblong, entire, not coriaceous, glossy, and dark green in color. They grow 1-3" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are pubescent with gray-yellow coloration.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Invasive Species
    Malodorous
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    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