Ligustrum vulgare

European Privet, Common Privet




  • native to Europe and northern Africa
  • hardy to zone 4
  • this species is widely naturalized throughout the eastern half of the United States
  • Special Note: This species has demonstrated an invasive tendency in Connecticut, meaning it may escape from cultivation and naturalize in minimally managed areas. For more information, .

Habit and Form

  • a medium sized deciduous shrub
  • stout multibranched shrub
  • 12' to 15' tall
  • equal width
  • coarse texture
  • fast growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • simple, deciduous leaves
  • opposite leaf arrangement
  • lanceolate leaf shape
  • 1" to 2.5" long
  • smooth leaf margins
  • dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • leaves turn purplish
  • not showy


  • white, terminal panicles
  • strong odor
  • blooms in mid-June
  • 1" to 3" long


  • black fruit
  • 0.33" drupe
  • ripens in early September
  • persists


  • thin stems
  • gray-brown bark color
  • smooth


  • transplants easily
  • extremely adaptable
  • full sun to partial shade
  • prune after flowering

Landscape Use

  • screen
  • border
  • hedge
  • foundation planting


  • anthracnose twig blight
  • canker
  • powdery mildew
  • leaf spot
  • aphids, leaf miners, mites and whiteflies

ID Features

  • white fragrant flowers
  • black fruit
  • opposite leaf arrangement
  • glossy entire leaves
  • leaves have waxy appearance
  • lenticels
  • light brown bark


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Cheyenne' - Marketed as the hardiest form, this plant still may fail in USDA zone 4 or colder. It retains its leaves late into the season.

'Densiflorum' - This plant maintains an upright form without pruning, making it suitable hedge material.

'Lodense' - A dwarf, compact plant, this cultivar only reaches 5' tall after many years. Observers have reported, however, that it is plagued by an incurable disease.

'Pyramidale' - As this cultivar assumes a somewhat pyramidal habit, it is commonly used as a hedge plant.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.