Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Ligustrum sinense
Lour., Oleaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, Score: 11 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: xiao la

English: Chinese privet, hedge privet, small-leaf privet

Habit:  shrub/tree

Description:  "Shrubs or small trees 2-4(-7) m, deciduous. Branchlets terete, villous, pubescent, pilose, puberulent, to glabrescent. Petiole 2-8 mm; leaf blade ovate, oblong, elliptic to lanceolate, or suborbicular, 2-7(-13) x 1-3(-5.5) cm, densely villous to sparsely pubescent or glabrous, papery to somewhat leathery, base cuneate to subrounded, apex acute to acuminate, sometimes obtuse and retuse; primary veins 4-6(or 7) on each side of midrib, impressed or plane adaxially, somewhat raised abaxially. Panicles terminal or axillary, 4-11 x 3-8 cm, with or without leaf at base. Pedicel 1-5 mm. Calyx 1-1.5 mm, glabrous or pubescent. Corolla 3.5-5.5 mm; tube slightly shorter than lobes. Stamens reaching apex of corolla lobes or exceeding that; anthers ca. 1 mm. Fruit subglobose, 5-8 mm in diameter"  (Flora of China online).

Habitat/ecology:  Privets are extremely aggressive and can form dense, impenetrable thickets that crowd out desirable plants. They are prolific seed producers.  "Forests and woodland, coastal cliffs.  In the native range, this shrub grows in valleys, along streams, in mixed forests and ravines from 200-2,700 m elevation.  Several varieties are widely used as ornamentals.  The shrub is a short-lived forest pioneer species establishing in disturbed sites.  Where invasive, it forms impenetrable thickets and thus crows out native vegetation.  It displaces the native shrub layer of invaded forests and prevents regeneration of native species"  (Weber, 2003; p. 238).  "Seeks out the more fertile soils of gullies, creeklines and rainforest edges, and watercourses affected by urban runoff; shades out native plants, transforms the habitat into one dominated by weeds"  (Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland).

In Australia, Ligustrum sinense naturalizes along fencelines and on the margins of rainforest (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 174).  In New Zealand, "forest margins, waste places, particularly roadsides and cliffs in and near towns and cities"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 880).  In China, "mixed forests, valleys, along streams, thickets, woods, ravines; 200-2700 m"  (Flora of China online).

Propagation:  Seed. Seeds are distributed by frugiferous birds (Carr et al., 1992, cited in Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; pp. 238-239).  "One plant may produce up to a million seeds, which are spread into bushland by birds, and are also washed down waterways. Small-leaf Privet seedlings grow like a carpet in creekline silt deposits"  (Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland).

Native range:  China, Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam; naturalized in southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and southeastern United States (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (pp. 5, 11)
Ligustrum sp.
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
invasive
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 174)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
Pickard, J. (1984) (p. 207)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 20)
"A native of China which has also escaped from cultivation and is proving a serious weed in places". Vouchers cited: A.C. Beauglehole, 5848 (CANB, MEL), J. Pickard 1411 (NSW), J. Pickard 3458 (NSW), J. Pickard 3462 (NSW)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 9)
"A native of China which has also escaped from cultivation and is proving a serious weed in places". Voucher cited: W.R. Sykes NI 227 (CHR)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 136)
Vouchers cited: DA 9809, DA 12240
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 209)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Herbarium Pacificum Staff (1999) (p. 6)
Voucher cited: T. Tunison s.n. (BISH 605525)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David/Flynn, Tim (1999) (p. 5)
Vouchers cited: D. Lorence, T. Flynn, S. Joe, F. Kraus, K. Reinard, J. Plews 8149 (BISH, K, MO, PTBG, US), T. Flynn & D. Lorence 6132 (BISH, K, PTBG)
Profusely naturalized in Koke‘e State Park.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1944) (voucher ID: BISH 61057)
Taxon name on voucher: Ligustrum sinense Lour.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 108)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 1669 (spontané), MacKee 24853 (cult.)
Spontané
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 10)
Ligustrum sp. Single cultivated plant in house yard.
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 7)
Ligustrum sp.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 174)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 174)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
Hong Kong native
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 243)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Owen, S. J. (1997)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 880)
Also present:  L. ovalifolium Hassk., "Forest remnant margins, roadside banks, and waste places" and L. vulgare L., "Usually on waste land, roadside banks and in and around modified forest remnants".
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 55)
Cultivated only
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
MacDonald, I. A. W./Thebaud, C./Strahm, W. A./Strasberg, D. (1991) (pp. 51-61)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Control:  Additional information on control of Ligustrum spp. from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical: Small plants may be hand pulled; older individuals need to be dug out.

Chemical: Foliar treatment of actively growing plants with glyphosate herbicide. Treat cut stumps to prevent resprouting.

"Foliar applications of glyphosate effective. Katie Cassel (Kōke‘e Museum) reported privet was susceptible to cut-stump applications of triclopyr or glyphosate.  Stems <0.5 inch diameter susceptible to basal bark application of 20% triclopyr ester in oil.  Larger stems must be notched or frilled.  HAVO staff report control with triclopyr amine at 10% of product in water applied to cut stumps  (Chris Zimmer, HAVO).  The manufacturer reported that metsulfuron was highly effective when applied to the foliage of actively growing plants at a rate of 5 grams per 10 liters of water (spray to wet the foliage)"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

"1. Stump swab (all year round): glyphosate (250ml/L) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant). 
2. Bore and fill (all year round): 1 hole /20 cm of trunk, 2 g/hole. 
3. Frilling:  With a sharp chisel or axe, make a deep cut into the sapwood at regular intervals around the base of the tree, taking care not to ring-bark the plant.  Immediately saturate the cuts with metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant).
4. Injection method: Holes are drilled sloping into the sapwood at regular intervals around the tree. Immediately saturate the holes with metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant) or undiluted Tordon Brushkiller, using a sheep drench pack with spraygun. 
5. Spray spring-autumn): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L) + penetrant.
Untreated stumps resprout quickly. Bared areas reseed profusely.  Follow up 6-monthly, easiest to spot during spring flowering. Replant bared areas to minimise seedling growth"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Additional information:
Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003). (PDF format).
Report (PDF format) from US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station, Hawaii "Plants of Hawaii".
NRCS Plant Guide for Ligustrum sinense (PDF)
Fact sheet, including control information, from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand.
Fact sheet from the Government of Queensland, Australia. (PDF format).
Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) factsheet (PDF format) from Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation's invasive plant species list
Photos and additional information on Ligustrum sinense at University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
Information on the Environment Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, web site.
Information from "Invasive plants of Asian origin established in the United States and their natural enemies, volume 1" (PDF format).
Information on Ligustrum sinense from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information on Ligustrum sinense from the publication "Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control".
Information from the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual.
Information on Ligustrum sinense from the book "Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas" (PDF format).
Information on Ligustrum spp. from the Bugwood Wiki.
Information and photos at Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland.
Information sheet from Weedbusters New Zealand.
Article from "Wildland Weeds".
Errata table for the above article from "Wildland Weeds".
Article on possible biocontrol agents from "Wildland Weeds".

Additional online information about Ligustrum sinense is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Ligustrum sinense as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Ligustrum sinense may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.). 1944. Voucher specimen #BISH61057(Edmondson, C.H. s.n.).

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1979. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian dicotyledonae. Micronesica 15:1-295.

Harley, Barbara. 2009. Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland. (online resource).

Herbarium Pacificum Staff. 1999. New Hawaiian plant records for 1998. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1998. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 58:3-11.

Lorence, David/Flynn, Tim. 1999. New naturalized plant records for the Hawaiian Islands. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1998. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 59:3-6.

MacDonald, I. A. W./Thebaud, C./Strahm, W. A./Strasberg, D. 1991. Effects of alien plant invasions on native vegetation remnants on La Reunion (Mascarenes Islands, Indian Ocean). Environmental Conservation 18 (1):51-61.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Orchard, Anthony E., ed. 1994. Flora of Australia. Vol. 49, Oceanic islands 1. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Owen, S. J. 1997. Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: A database. Working draft. Wellington, New Zealand. Department of Conservation.

Pickard, J. 1984. Exotic plants on Lord Howe Island: Distribution in space and time, 1853-1981. J. of Biogeography 11:181-208.

Smith, Albert C. 1988. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 4. 377 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2000. Observations on invasive plant species in American Samoa.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 51 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2001. Report to the Kingdom of Tonga on invasive plant species of environmental concern.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 78 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 83 pp.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


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This page was created on 15 DEC 2008 and was last updated on 23 AUG 2011.