T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Ligustrum sinense (Chinese Privet)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Lamiales
Family:      Oleaceae
Tribe:        Oleeae
Genus:      Ligustrum
Species:     L. sinense
Binomial name: Ligustrum sinense
Synonym: Ligustrum villosum
Common name: Chinese Privet

Ligustrum sinense is a species of privet, native to China, Taiwan and Vietnam. In New Zealand it is a weed that inhabits forest margins, waste places, hedges and roadsides. It is relatively common in the North Island but in the South island it has only been reported in the Nelson area. Though this shrub is found in private gardens it is subject to Pest Plant Management Strategies in several regions.
It is a deciduous (semi-deciduous in colder areas) shrub growing to 2–5 m tall, with densely hairy shoots. The dull green leaves have a rounded tip and a hairy midrib on the underside. They are opposite, 2–7 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, rarely larger, with an entire margin and a 2–8 mm petiole.
Flowering occurs Oct – March. The tubular flowers are white, with a four-lobed corolla 3.5–5.5 mm long. They have characteristic purple or mauve anthers.
The fruit is subglobose, 5–8 mm diameter. The seeds are dispersed by birds.
The Tree privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is a much taller tree. It has larger leaves that have a more defined tip. The inflorescences are more yellow-white and lack purple anthers.

 The leaves & fruit are poisonous. It is widely thought that the plant causes allergies and asthma but it does not produce any wind blown pollen as it is pollinated by insects.





Characteristic anthers.on newly opened flowers




The rounded ended leaf.


The underside of a leaf showing hairy midrib.