Wild Privet - Ligustrum vulgare


Shrub 1 to 3 metres tall and densely branched. Leaves lanceolate, smooth, untoothed and short stalked. Flowers white, 4 to 6 mm in dense pyramidal panicles, fragrant. Fruit a berry 6 to 8 mm shiny black when ripe.

Similar Species

Wild Privet and Garden Privet can be hard to tell apart. The key difference involves whether the new stems are minutely hairy (Wild Privet) or not (Garden Privet), and the length of the corolla tube (the length of the free petals is equal to the joined part of the petals in Wild Privet, but longer in Garden Privet).  The shape of the leaves is a supporting characteristic, but it’s not a key difference as intermediate leaf-shapes can be found.  Another useful indicator is where it is growing; Garden Privet obviously being associated with habitation, cemeteries, parks and gardens. Wild Privet is usually commonest in hedges and scrub in base-rich areas (e.g. on the limestone areas in Rutland and Melton), but is found across most of the County except on acid soils and is often planted in new woodlands and hedges.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Add a comment as to whether new stems are hairy or not.


Wood margins and hedgerows.

When to see it

May and June.

Life History

Semi deciduous.

UK Status

Found mainly in England and Wales, decreasing further north into Scotland.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 394 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map