Chinese Privet Ligustrum sinense is an aggressively invasive shrub (15′ – 20′ tall) introduced from China in 1852. It is classified by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a Tier I invasive species defined as “currently causing severe or widespread negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. It occurs throughout the state in most forest types including Bottomland Hardwood, Longleaf Pine, and Mixed Pine and Hardwood as well as Coastal Prairie.
Once established, it is difficult to remove, and quickly forms dense thickets that out-competes native shrubs and trees important to wildlife. Chinese Privet prefers moist soils, but tolerates most soil conditions and full sun to deep shade. It produces an abundance of seeds and creates large seedbanks in infested areas. Cedar Waxwing and other birds consume Chinese Privet seeds and spread this weed to natural areas. Like most non-native species, Chinese Privet provides little to no support for pollinators or nesting birds.
It is admired for the fine texture of its foliage and is sometimes used as an evergreen screening plant. Chinese Privet is usually sold in the nursery trade as a variegated version, which can revert back to the straight species.
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