Illinois State Animal Control

Issg Database: Ecology of Ligustrum vulgare

August 27, 2013 – 14:25

Animal Control Workers

    Taxonomic name: Ligustrum vulgare L.
    Synonyms: Ligustrum italicum Mill, Olea humilis Salisb.
    Common names: aitalikusteri, common privet, European privet, gewone liguster, golden privet, wild privet
    Organism type: shrub
    Native to Europe and northern Africa, Ligustrum vulgare is a shrub that grows in sandy, loamy and clay soils. Ligustrum vulgare is a perennial shrub that has a maximum height of 4.5 metres and has many branches that flower. Ligustrum vulgare displaces native vegetation by forming dense thickets. Herbicides have been used to control Ligustrum vulgare when the plants are large but the most effective control method is to dig the plants out when they are small.
    UConn (Undated) states that Ligustrum vulgare is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that is stout and multibranched. The leaves of L. vulgare can be oval or elliptical. They range from 2.5-6.35cm (1-2.5 in) and are dark green , glossy, and waxy in appearance. The leaves have a smooth edge and grow opposite each other on the stem (PDEP, 2004). In the fall the leaves turn purple (PDEP, 2004; UConn, undated). At the end of the branches you will find white flowers in a cluster with a strong fragrance. The bark of L. vulgare is smooth and gray-brown. The height of this plant averages 4.5m (PDEP, 2004). The flowers of the shrub are white, terminal panicles. They have lengths of 2.5-7.6cm (1-3 in). The fruit produced by L. Vulgare are small, black berries. These will form in late summer and early fall (PDEP, 2004).
    Similar Species
    Ilex glabra
    Occurs in:
    ruderal / disturbed, scrub / shrublands
    Habitat description
    According to PFAF (2004), Ligustrum vulgare prefers sandy, loamy, and clay soils. The shrub tends to grow in places with some shade and others with no shade. It can live in dry or moist soils and can tolerate drought and martime exposure ( PFAF, 2004).
    General impacts
    Richburg et al (2001) states that Ligustrum vulgare displaces native vegetation by forming dense thickets.
    Ligustrum vulgare is most commonly used as a landscape plant (PDEP, 2004) such as a hedge or border (UConn, undated). Its wood has been used to make charcoal and its young twigs have been used in basketry and hurdle making (PFAF, 2004).
    Ligustrum vulgare is known to attract wildlife (PFAF, 2004). Dense thickets of L. vulgare provide cover for birds (PFAF, 2004). L. vulgare provides food for many catepillars.
    Geographical range
    Native range: Europe, Northern Africa, Mediterranean (UConn, undated, Hear, undated)
    Known introduced range: New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Alabama , Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Utah, Texas, Georgia (USA) (Cox, 2001; Hunter and Mattice, 2001; PCA, 2006; USDA, 2007)
    Management information
    Physical When Ligustrum vulgare is small, dig or pull up the roots. The problem associated with this method though is the soil will be disturbed and could make it easy for another infestation. There should be no roots left in the ground. Chemical Larger L. vulgare need to be cut and the herbicide glyphosate should be applied to the stump (PDEP, 2004).


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