Glossy Privet (Ligustrum lucidum)

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Glossy Privet (Ligustrum lucidum)

A commonly planted evergreen small tree that is less invasive, at present, than Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense). It's an uncommon escape overall, but common in suburban areas. Overlooked by local botanists, who don't often collect in the suburbs - most sources claim it's a rare escape in NC. This is one to watch.

Glossy Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) Distinguished from most other Ligustrums by its large, thick, glossy leaves and usually glabrous twigs. Very similar to Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum), which has smaller leaves (<6 cm long vs. 6-15 cm for L. lucidum). A tip to tell the two apart: L. japonicum leaves snap when bent, L. lucidum leaves just bend. Not likely to be confused with native species other than Devilwood (Osmanthus americanus), a small tree of the coast. The flowers are somewhere between sweet and malodorous. The corolla tube slightly longer than the lobes. Copious amounts of fruits are produced. The berries turn black when ripe and are gobbled up by birds, which spread the seeds far and wide.

Chapel Hill, NC 5/29/03.

More information:
Arid Plant List

Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina

All photographs and text ©2011 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated