Family: Oleaceae
Common Name: Privet

From Europe, Asia, North Africa and Australia, this genus comprises around 50 species of ever-green, partially evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees. Due to its dense habit, privet has been and still is used extensively as a hedge plant, but there are many species which are well worth growing in the shrub border as spec­imens. Even the usual hedging species are very pleasing in appearance when grown as speci­men shrubs. Privet generally has oval, green leaves and sprays of small, strongly scented, white flowers in the summer, followed by black berries.


L. japonicum, zone 7, from Japan, grows 3-4 m (10-13 ft), with large leaves and long, dense sprays of flowers. Cultivar 'Rotundifolium' has almost round leaves. It is often used for hedging.

L. ovalifolium, zone 6, from japan, has oval leaves. Cultivar 'Aureum', golden privet, grows to a height of 4 m (13 ft) and can be used as a background plant to small annuals or can be trimmed to a small, formal shape. The glossy, green, oval leaves have yellow margins and colour best in full sure. Cut out any green shoots as they appear, otherwise it will revert to the normal green form.

L. vulgare, common privet, zone 5, grows to about 4.5 m (15 ft) and is often used as a hedge. The power­ful perfume and the pollen of this species' flow­ers can cause an allergic reaction, so it should be regularly clipped to avoid flowering.


Privet will thrive in almost any con­ditions and grows very rapidly. The roots are invasive, spreading far into the garden and causing damage to pipes and building struc­hires. Propagate from seed sown in spring or autumn in a garden frame, or from semi-ripe or hardwood cutting, in summer and winter respectively.


Most conditions, except hot tropics.

Ligularia      Lilium