Australia > All Weeds > Small-Leaved Privet

Small-Leaved Privet

Ligustrum sinense

Origin: Native of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos and Vietnam.


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Growth habit, Sydney NSW

Alternative Name(s): Chinese Privet.

Family: Oleaceae.

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus is recorded as being mildly toxic and it is quite possible that other members of the genus also contain toxins.

Habitat: Thin woods and thickets in lowland and hills all over Japan. Mixed forests, valleys, along streams, thickets, woods, ravines at elevations of 200 - 2600 metres.

Edibility Rating: 0 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 1 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: Flowers: Flowerhead dense, branched (panicle) 5–10 cm long. Flowers fragrant with 4 white petals, each 3–5 mm long. Flowers late winter and spring. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Evergreen to semi-deciduous (in cooler areas) small tree to 5 m high. Leaves elliptic to ovate, margins entire, similar colour on both surfaces. Mature leaves 2–6 cm long, 1.5–2.5 cm wide, on stalk 0.3–0.7 cm long. Berry 4–7 mm long, black and succulent when ripe; seeds 3–4 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by small leaves; white fragrant flowers with pink to purple pollen bearing parts of the flower (anthers); at least midvein of lower leaf surface with short, weak, soft hairs; small branches with whitish corky areas through which gaseous exchange takes place (lenticels). Leaf edges on seedlings often wavy (see photo).

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Febrifuge. The bark is used as an antipyretic.

Other Uses

Much cultivated as a hedge and screen plant in N. America.

Notes: Often cultivated as a hedge plant. Small-leaved Privet invades wasteland, streambanks and margins of rainforest. Pollen spread by insects and unlikely to cause allergic reactions in humans. May be grazed by cattle, reducing vigour of the plant. May be confused with Ligustrum vulgare which has small, hairless leaves and yellow anthers.




Young shoots


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