Wild Privet

Ligustrum vulgare

About

Wild Privet is a common, semi-evergreen shrub of hedgerows, woodland edges and grassland scrub on well-drained calcareous soils. It is also commonly used for hedging in suburban gardens. White flowers appear from June through summer, and black berries ripen in autumn. Although the berries are extremely poisonous to humans, they are eaten by thrushes and other birds.

How to identify

Wild Privet is identifiable by its small, oval, glossy, green leaves and smooth bark. Clusters of small white flowers appear at the ends of its twigs, and matt-black berries appear in the autumn.

Where to find it

Widespread in England, Wales and southern Scotland. Whilst found in Northern Ireland it is an introduced species and almost entirely confined to planted field hedgerows.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Wild Privet is the main foodplant of the Privet Hawk-moth and also provides cover for small birds and other animals. To encourage wildlife into your garden, try planting hedges of native species - these will grow to provide food and shelter for everything from hedgehogs to hawk-moths. To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Wild Privet
Latin name
Ligustrum vulgare
Category
Trees and shrubs
Statistics
Height: 3-5m
Conservation status
Common.