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Ligustrum sinense (OLEACEAE) Small-leaved privet

Image: Foliage and flowers

Ligustrum sinense - Small-leaved privet
Photo: Matt Tomkins

A semi-evergreen small tree/ large shrub, commonly found invading the understory of moist areas.

Bark is a smooth gray with lenticels. An extremely hardy, aggressive plant often branching near the base into strong, multiple trunks. Hard to remove because it seems to have so many growing parts and therefore resists local application of poisons. While not thorny, is an unpleasantly thick and wiry shrub. A cane knife can bounce off if not directed at the cutting angle.

Small, opposite, thickened, leathery leaves.

Can respond to hand pulling, surprisingly shallow rooted. But root fragments will regrow.

Showy in bloom, covered with sickly-sweet small white flowers.

Large amounts of berries turn black when ripe and are eaten by birds, which spread the seeds.