Alternate name: European Privet
Family: Oleaceae, Olive view all from this family
Description Introduced. A many-stemmed, thicket-forming shrub often used as a hedge plant.
Height: 12-15' (3.6-4.5 m).
Leaves: 1-2 1/2" (2.5-6.5 cm) long; oblong-ovate; opposite; dark green; not hairy below.
Flowers: short, tubular white flowers; in terminal clusters 1-3" (2.5-7.5 cm) long.
Fruit: 1/3" (8 mm) long; black; berrylike; lasts through winter.
Warning Privet berries are reported to be poisonous to children if ingested. The foliage may be poisonous to livestock. It is inadvisable to eat any parts of this plant.
Habitat Disturbed habitats, roadsides, fencerows, old fields, bottomland forests, open woods, and forest edges.
Range Native of Europe and northern Africa; escaped from cultivation and naturalized in the East, west to Texas, and in scattered central and western states.
Discussion Common Privet, like Japanese, Chinese, and Border Privet, is an alien species used extensively in the United States for hedge planting that has gotten out of hand and threatens natural habitats. It spreads by creeping rootstocks as well as the dispersal of seeds by birds and other animals. In many areas it is considered an invasive plant.