Chinese privet

Chinese privet

Ligustrum sinense (Oleaceae)

Common Name:

Chinese privet

Scientific Name:

Ligustrum sinense (Oleaceae)

Alternative common names:

Chinese liguster (Afrikaans)


A deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub growing to 3-6m high with dense, glossy foliage. Mid to dark green leaves, sometimes variegated, or yellow. Shoots are densely downy and leaves are hairy on the midrib beneath. Heavily scented white flowers in terminal clusters from October to February. Shiny black berries. The leaves and fruit are poisonous to humans and certain animals.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 - Category 1 NEMBA - Category 1b in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern and Western Cape, Gauteng and North West, 3 in Free State and Northern Cape.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Gauteng Provinces.

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal.

Why is it a problem?

Competes with and has the potential to replace indigenous species. Poisonous. Indigenous birds could neglect the dispersal of indigenous plants as a consequence of their preference for the fruits of this alien species.

What does it look like?

General description: A deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub growing 3-6m high with glossy, dense foliage.
Leaves: Mid to dark green leaves.
Flowers: Heavily scented white flowers in terminal clusters appear from October to February.
Fruit/seeds: Shiny black berries in clusters.

Does the plant have any uses?

Ornament and hedging. Birds eat the fruits.

Leave a Reply