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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Ligustrum lucidum
tree privet


Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Touchwood Books

Ligustrum lucidum - tree privet

Small to medium, hardy, fast-growing, evergreen, round-headed tree up to 10 m tall, sometimes a dense shrub. Leaves oval-shaped, glossy on the upper surface. Flowers white, very sweet-smelling.

  • Flowers White, about 6 mm in diameter, with four sharply bent back lobes at the end of the corolla tube, and yellow anthers. Flowers strongly-scented, in broadly pyramid-shaped panicles 25 x 20 cm. Flowers Nov-Mar.
  • Fruit Elliptical-oblong berry-like drupes, 6 x 5 mm, bluish or purplish-black, coated with powdery bloom.
  • Leaves Dark green, large, glossy on the upper surface, oval to elliptical, 5-13 cm long by 3-6 cm wide. Leaf stalks 1-2 cm long.
  • Stems Hairless shoots.


Gardens, forest margins, coastal cliffs and waste places.


NI only, common in North Auckland, Auckland and coastal Bay of Plenty. Originally from China.


Leaves and fruit poisonous. Widely believed to contribute to allergies and asthma, although since the plant is insect-pollinated, it does not produce any wind-blown pollen. Commonly used as an urban hedge plant in warmer parts of the country. Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Ligustrum (Lat.) = privet; lucidum (Lat.) = shining, referring to the glossy leaves.

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Last updated: July 13, 2014