Ligustrum spp. -- privets

There are a number of commonly-cultivated species of Ligustrum, as well as multiple hybrids. See text under Notes.

Non-native* (Europe and Asia)

Ligustrum sp. [8]
Typical flowers, this L. vulgare; some types more elongated
[2] Robert Videki

Typical fruit
[1] L. obtusifolium

[1] L. ovalifolium

[1] L. vulgare

Michigan Flora online lists three privets naturalized in Michigan:
L. vulgare is apparently the most common, although hybrids and other species/cultivars may dominate in some areas, especially in urbanized settings.

All have similar small, dull purple fruit with dry, mealy pulp and a large seed relative to the pulp. Although in some regions, particularly in the U.S. southeastern states, some species of privets are readily eaten by birds, they do not seem to be a  highly desirable, at least in fall, in southeast Michigan. Perhaps the two common southern species, L. lucidum (Glossy Privet) and L. sinense (Chinese Privet), that are not yet found in Michigan are more appealing to birds.

Flowering dates for L. vulgare are in June-July, with fruit in September-October (often persisting through winter).


* Listed as invasive in natural areas by the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.

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