European privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Oleaceae, the olive family

How to recognize privet. This is a shrub with firm semi-evergreen oppositely arranged elliptical leaves that are 3-6 cm. long with smooth margins.

Privet has firm semi-evergreen leaves.

Flowers and fruits. Privet flowers are showy and white, each about 1 cm. long, with 4 fused petals and 2 stamens. They are arranged in cone-shaped branched clusters at the ends of stems.

Privet flowers have 4 fused petals.

The fruits are small globose purple-black drupes.

Privet fruits are black drupes.

In the winter. The twigs are narrow, gray, hairless, with raised leaf scars.

privet twig

Where to find privet. E. Lucy Braun, in The Woody Plants of Ohio (1961, 1989; The Ohio State University Press) tell us that that “When found in more or less undisturbed woodland (as this species sometimes is), its identity may not be realized at once. Its long-persistent leaves, sometimes remaining green throughout much oif the winter, make recognition easy after our deciduous shrubs have shed.”

Scanned Image from an Old Book
(Flora of West Virginia, by P.D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core)

European privet

Ooh ooh. I have a question!

What family does privet belong to, and which other of our plants are in that family?

Privet is a member of the olive family, along with ashes.

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