Border Privet
Ligustrum obtusifoliumOleaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFlowerStem
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Blunt-leaved privet

The Plant:

  • A shrub that can grow up to 15 feet tall.

The Leaves:

  • firm
  • not tough
  • not leathery
  • deciduous
  • opposite
  • elliptic with a blunt tip
  • hairy beneath mostly along midrib

The Stem:

  • densely hairy
  • slender
  • round twigs

The Flowers:

  • White, four-petaled flowers in cone-shaped, terminal clusters. Individual flowers are small.

The Fruits:

  • small
  • black berries

The Habitat:

  • hedging, landscapes, fencerows
  • roadsides


  • birds eat the fruits and disperse seeds
  • still used in landscaping

Key ID Features:

  • bud scales blunt
  • densely hairy twigs
  • leaves oppositely arranged, hairy beneath on mid-rib

Similar Species:

  • Privets are very difficult to distinguish, Ligustrum obtusifolium (Border Privet) has nearly hairless twigs and anthers that reach the tips of the corolla lobes. L. ovalifolium (California Privet) has smooth twigs and anthers that surpass the corolla lobes. L. sinense (Chinese Privet) has hairy twigs and anthers that almost reach the tips of the corolla lobes. L. vulgare (European Privet) has densely pubescent twigs and anthers that surpass the corolla lobes.


  • Commonly planted as a hedge around gardens and homes.
  • This plant can escape and crowd out native species by forming dense thickets.
  • On Nantucket, this species is found in the wild in small populations, with no known dense stands.

Growth Form: Shrub

Origin: Japan

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Likely Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Likely Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban, propagation ban

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston