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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 7. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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4. Ligustrum vulgare L. (common privet; European privet)

Pl. 460 h, i; Map 2105

Plants 1–5 m tall and about as wide, the main stems usually numerous, erect or ascending, with spreading to broadly ascending branches. Twigs densely pubescent with minute, spreading hairs (becoming glabrous or nearly so by second year), the new growth green, becoming gray with light grayish brown lenticels. Winter buds with the scales tawny to brown, glabrous. Petioles 3–16 mm long, glabrous, sometimes narrowly winged. Leaf blades 2–8 cm long, 6–20 mm wide, relatively thick and somewhat leathery, narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, angled or tapered to a sharply or occasionally bluntly pointed tip, the upper surface glabrous, shiny, the undersurface glabrous, faintly gland-dotted. Inflorescences ascending to spreading or nodding, relatively broad panicles, 3–6 cm long, with numerous flowers. Calyces glabrous. Corollas 5–9 mm long, the tube shorter than to about as long as the lobes, white. Stamens not exserted or short-exserted. 2n=46. May–June.

Introduced, uncommon, widely scattered (native of Europe; introduced widely but sporadically in the U.S., Canada). Banks of spring branches; also old homesites and disturbed areas.

This privet is the most widely planted Ligustrum species for hedges east of Missouri. Numerous cultivars have been developed for variegated leaves as well as various growth habits and fruit colors.

Steyermark (1963) discussed L. vulgare as an excluded species that he expected to eventually be discovered in Missouri outside of cultivation. The present study has confirmed this prediction, although two other species not included in Steyermark’s treatment, L. obtusifolium and L. sinense, have proven to escape cultivation more commonly in our region.



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