Chinese Privet

Invasive Species In North Carolina

Type of Organism

The Chinese Privet, or ligustrum sinense is a plant. This type of plant is perennial shrubs that can grow up to 16 feet tall. Ligustrum bark is tan to gray in color with a smooth texture and the leaves are elliptic to ovate in shape, arranaged oppositely on twigs. Flowers are borne on small panicles on short lateral branches on the end of the twig. The Chinese Privet resembles the Lingustrum japonicum, or the Japanese Privet, which has glossier leaves and is larger.


The Chinese Privet originates from China. There are approximately 50 species of Ligustrum that are all native to Asia, Europe, and, North Africa.

Spread of Organism

The Chinese Privet was introduced to the United States from China as a garden plant and has developed into an assortment of ornamental values for not only the U.S., but for other parts of the world as well. This plant has been widely planted and used commonly for hedges. It has since escaped cultivation spreading throughout the Southeast and Midwest. In North Carolina, it is now found in all physiographic regions. This shrub prefers moist soil conditions, but it can also be found on upland sites generally at elevations less than 3,000 feet.


Ligustrum sinense is a remarkably aggressive shrub that forms dense, impenetrable thickets that can shade out the herbaceous layer, ultimately altering the natural species composition and community structure of natural areas. It is also capable of invading natural areas such as floodplain forests and woodlands. Even though this privet is still used in the landscape, and is still available at garden centers and online distributors, it is an invasive weed.

Management Plan

To prevent privet from growing, we have to limit the planting of this plant and remove existing plants within a landscape. If possible, the removal of existing plants should be done before the seeds are produced, which can be done by hand-pulling. Larger plants may need to be dug out, however. Another form of removing this plant is by using some type of foliar spray that is designed for this specific purpose. If used appropriately, there will be minimal soil disturbance.

Flyer made by: Yakari Rosales & Leslie Osorio

*Citation for photos: Google Images