Ligustrum lucidum, Glossy Privet

Invasive Species: Ligustrum lucidum, Glossy Privet

Glossy privet is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree that grows up to 40 ft (12.2 m) in height. This invasive plant out-competes many native species.  The trunks usually occur as multiple stems with many long, leafy branches. Leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate, 3 to 6 in. (5 to 15.2 cm) long, and 2 to 4 in. (5 to 10.2 cm) wide. Flowering occurs in late summer, when abundant white flowers develop at the ends of branches in clusters that are 5 to 8 in. (12.7 to 20 cm) long. Fruits are less than 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long, oval, and fleshy and ripen to dark blue to black. Fruits persist into winter. Several nonnative privet species occur, and distinguishing species can be difficult. Glossy privet resembles Japanese privet (L. japonicum Thunb.), but the leaves of Japanese privet are shorter (2 in. [5.1 cm] long) and thicker. Glossy privet commonly forms dense thickets in fields or in the understories of forests. It can tolerate a wide range of habitats and once established is difficult to remove. Glossy privet, which was introduced in the United States in the early 1800s, is commonly used as an ornamental shrub and for hedgerows.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them?

Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Scrophulariales > Oleaceae > Ligustrum lucidum W.T. Aiton

Synonym(s): tree privet

Ligustrum lucidum – USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

glossy privet – The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS – Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS – Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices – Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.


Glossy privet can be large shrubs to small trees. It grows up to 40 ft tall. Glossy privet can spread by root sprouts, especially if the main stem is damaged.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,


Leaves are opposite and may be flat or folding inward from the central vein.

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,


The perfect flowers are small and white and borne in terminal panicles. Glossy privet blooms from June to July.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,


The fruit ripens from green to black. The berry-like fruits contain one to four seeds and are borne in terminal clusters. Fruits are subglobose or ovoid and are 0.25 in (6 to 8 mm) long. The fruit clusters ripen during September and October and persist through the winter. Mature plants can produce hundreds of fruit, which are dispersed by birds and other wildlife.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,

Native Species That Resemble Glossy Privet


– Images at


– Images at


Additional Images for Glossy Privet

glossy privet – Images at


Learning Resources for Glossy Privet

Ligustrum lucidum Identification Card – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ligustrum lucidum Fact Sheet – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ligustrum lucidum Fact Sheet – UW-Extension Weed Science


Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state’s land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label .

United States Land-Grant University System – Find your Land-Grant University’s College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests – USDA Forest Service

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants of Southern Forests – USDA Forest Service

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants – University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)

Element Stewardship Abstract – The Nature Conservancy

Invasives Database –

Ligustrum lucidum (tree) – Global Invasive Species Database

Ligustrum lucidum – Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)