Invasive Privet

Ligustrum spp.

invasive privet with berries
 Image credit: Western New York PRISM


The Privet family includes multiple species, cultivars, and hybrids of privets that are often planted ornamentally but have a tendency to escape into natural habitats. KISMA focuses mainly on the border privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium), amur privet (Ligustrum amurense), and hybrids of the two. 

  • woody shrub that grows around 10 feet tall with multiple stems
  • opposite leaves are usually oblong to ovate in shape, and around 1.5 inches long
  • stems, petioles, and leaves are often pubescent in varying amounts depending on the species
  • white to cream flowers grow in clumps at the end of branches and bloom around June

Differentiating between privet species can be challenging especially due to the likelihood of hybridization.

For more identification tips, or to differentiate between privet species, visit Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes (WIGL) Collaborative and Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN)and search for privets.


KISMA Management Practices

Currently, KISMA does not actively manage privet species. However, their ability to escape gardens and establish thick understory thickets in natural areas makes them a KISMA species of concern. Report any instances of privets found in natural habitats to KISMA. Currently, we are focusing on building a better understanding of where this plant occurs through the Keweenaw. 



invasive privet shrub with flowers
(image credit: Richard Gardner) invasive privet shrub with flowers 
privet opposite leaves

(image credit: August Camp) opposite leaves of privet

invasive privet leaf

(image credit: August Camp) privet lower branch leaf structure 

invasive privet leaf and berry

(image credit: August Camp) privet leaves with unripened berries 


Richard Gardner,

Amur Privet: Ligustrum Amurense. Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States, 2018, Midwest Invasive Plant List

Western New York PRISM