Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Broad-leaf Privet (Ligustrum lucidum), a native of eastern Asia, is a small tree usually growing 4 to 12 m tall.
  • It has relatively large glossy leaves and produces masses of bluish-black fruit during winter.
  • Broad-leaf Privet has been spread from gardens and hedges into bushland by birds and other animals that eat its fruit.
  • It has invaded rainforests, gullies and waterways in the coastal and sub-coastal districts of eastern and south-eastern Australia.
  • This species can form dense thickets which shade out and displace native species. It can also transform the habitat available to native animals.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Broad-leaf Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is a small tree usually growing 4 to 12 m tall. Its stems and leaves are hairless and its younger stems are greenish in colour. Older stems and branches usually develop a relatively smooth greyish-coloured bark as they mature. However, the fruit-bearing branches often turn orange or reddish in colour. The leaves vary from ovate to oval in shape and are borne on stalks 1 to 3 cm long. These leaves (4 to 24 cm long and 2.5 to 8 cm wide) are hairless, leathery in texture, and oppositely arranged along the stems. They have smooth margins, with pointed tips and rounded bases. Their upper surfaces are dark green and glossy in appearance, while their undersides are paler and duller (Navie & Adkins 2007).

The small flowers (about 6 mm across) are white or cream and have four petals (2 to 5 mm long) that are fused at the base into a very short tube. The flowers are borne in large branched clusters (8 to 25 cm long) at the tips of the stems. They are borne directly on the branches of the flower clusters or on very short stalks (1 to 3 mm long).

The small berry-like fruit have a hard centre (they are actually called drupes) and turn bluish-black or purplish-black in colour as they mature. These fruit (5 to 10 mm long and 4 to 6 mm wide) are oval or round in shape and each usually contains two seeds. The seeds have a ribbed surface and are about 5 mm long (Navie & Adkins 2007).

For further information and assistance with identification of Broad-leaf Privet contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour


Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Broad-leaf Privet is mainly a weed of wetter sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions, but it may occasionally be found in tropical and cooler temperate environments. It has become naturalised in and around rainforest areas, along roadsides and waterways, and in open woodlands, pastures, grasslands, waste areas and disturbed sites (Navie & Adkins 2007).

Are there similar species?

Broad-leaf Privet is very similar to Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense), Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) and Native Privet (Ligustrum australianum). However, all three of these species have smaller leaves (2 to 7.5 cm long). Chinese Privet can also be distinguished by its hairy younger stems and common privet by the fact that it loses its leaves during winter. Native Privet, which is only present in northern and central Queensland, also has smaller flowers with petals only about 2 mm long (Navie & Adkins 2007).

Broad-leaf Privet can also be confused with various native rainforest species when not in flower or fruit, including cheese tree (Glochidion ferdinandi) and many of the Lilly-pilly's (Syzygium spp.) (Blood 2001).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Broad-leaf Privet was included in the list of 71 species that were nominated by state and territory governments for assessment as Weeds of National Significance (WONS). Following an assessment process, Broad-leaf Privet was not included as one of the 20 WONS. However, it remains a weed of potential national signficance.

Native ecosystems: Broad-leaf Privet causes widespread and significant environmental damage in eastern Australia. It is regarded as an environmental weed or potential environmental weed in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, and is currently of most concern in south-eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales. Broad-leaf Privet has become an invasive weed of rainforests, gullies and waterways and can invade relatively intact rainforest communities. It can form dense thickets, particularly in coastal areas, which shade out and displace native species. This can transform the habitat available to native animals, creating an ecosystem dominated by weeds, and disrupting the access of animals to natural corridors (Land Protection 2006; Navie & Adkins 2007). Broad-leaf Privet also supports artificially high numbers of pied currawongs (Strepera graculina) in New South Wales, disrupting the natural ecological balance and adversely affecting other native birds (Blood 2001).

In New South Wales Broad-leaf Privet is present in coastal districts north from Bega, on the far south coast, and inland to West Wyalong. It is widely distributed throughout south-eastern Queensland and can also be found on the Atherton Tablelands, in northern Queensland. Small naturalised populations also exist in north-eastern and southern Victoria, where it is regarded as a potential threat to grasslands, woodlands, riparian vegetation and eucalypt forests (Navie &Adkins 2007).

Human impacts: The leaves and fruit of this species are poisonous to livestock and humans (Navie & Adkins 2007). Broad-leaf Privet pollen is also known to cause significant irritation to hay fever sufferers (Mowatt 1998).

How does it spread?

Broad-leaf Privet reproduces by seed, which are readily dispersed by fruit-eating (frugivorous) birds and other animals. The seeds may also be spread by water and in dumped garden waste (Navie & Adkins 2007).

What is its history in Australia?

Broad-leaf Privet has been widely cultivated in gardens, often as a hedge or windbreak. The first known record of it in cultivation in Australia was in 1857, at Camden Park in Sydney (Weeds Australia undated).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Controlling the spread of Broad-leaf Privet requires the removal of larger seed-producing trees, in order to prevent further dispersal by birds (Mowatt 1998).

Check with your local council or state/territory government agency about its requirements for Broad-leaf Privet control. 

Non-chemical control: Mechanical and manual control: Large pure stands of Broad-leaf Privet can be cleared using bulldozers or manually. Cleared areas should then be revegetated with native trees, shrubs and ground cover plants and repeatedly hand-weeded or otherwise maintained until the natural vegetation becomes established. Removing isolated Broad-leaf Privet plants from natural bush should be done with minimal disturbance to the native vegetation, as Broad-leaf Privet and other weeds are often better able to take advantage of disturbance. Younger plants can be hand-pulled, and uprooted plants should be placed upside-down with their roots in the air, to dry out. 

Fire: Broad-leaf Privet thickets do not usually carry fires and the plants regenerate rapidly by sprouting or suckering after fire, so burning is usually not feasible or ineffective (Mowatt 1998).

Chemical control: Older plants can be controlled using herbicides, applied according to the cut stump, basal bark or stem injection methods (Land Protection 2006).

Also see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au.

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Broad-leaf Privet seed can remain viable for at least two years, and almost 100% of seeds are viable. Seedlings can survive for long periods in unfavourable conditions, such as in dense shade and under moisture stress (Mowatt 1998). Flowering occurs mostly during spring and summer, with the fruit maturing during autumn and winter (Navie & Adkins 2007). It is thought that free-standing mature trees can produce up to a million fruit in a favourable year (Mowatt 1998).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Broad-leaf Privet is mainly naturalised in the wetter parts of south-eastern and eastern Australia. It is most common in south-eastern Queensland and in the coastal and sub-coastal districts of eastern New South Wales. It has also been recorded in northern Queensland, north-eastern and southern Victoria, and on Norfolk Island (Bostock & Holland 2007; Navie & Adkins 2007).

Where does it originate?

Broad-leaf Privet is native to eastern Asia (China, Korea and Japan) (GRIN 2007).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Ligustrum lucidum

Other scientific names (synonyms)?


Does it have other known common name(s)?

Tree Privet, Large Leaf Privet, Glossy Privet, Ligustrum, Wax Leaf Privet

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