Tree Privet

Also known as:
Hedge Privet, Broad Leaf Privet
Temperate & Tropical regions/China

General description

Small med, hardy, fast growing, evergreen tree or dense shrub <10m high that can reach 14m in foliage diameter. Dark green, glossy oval leaves, pointed tips, smooth edges. Long panicles of strongly scented white flowers (Nov-Mar). Berry-like bluish or purplish-black drupes.

Hedgerows, roadsides, lowland & coastal forest, wastelands, plantations. Tolerates wide range of conditions. Widespread & common.

Seed dispersed by birds, over long distances by Kereru.

Replaces mid canopy trees (taraire, towai, pohutukawa) & completely dominates areas of forest if unhindered. Chinese privet displaces forest shrub tier & marginal shrubs in alluvial forests. Leaves & fruit poisonous, perfume contributes to asthma.

Site management

Firstly ensure correct identification. Easy to kill with metsulfuron. Follow up 6-monthly; easiest to spot during spring flowering. Don’t replant until seedling regrowth ceases, as privet will grow through groundcover.

Recommended approaches

1. Pull or dig seedlings.
2. Cut & stump paint (1g metsulfuron/1L).
3. All year round drill 1 hole per 20cm stem diameter & fill each hole with 2g metsulfuron (dissolved in approx 50ml water).
4. Spray spring autumn, (5g metsulfuron+10ml penetrant/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

monkey apple
Syzygium smithii

Similar to tree privet. The new leaves of monkey apple have a reddish colour. Monkey apple berries are white-pink.

brush cherry
Syzygium australe

Similar to tree privet. The new leaves of brush cherry have a reddish colour. Brush cherry berries are reddish-pink.

Chinese privet
Ligustrum sinense

Chinese privet is a much shorter tree. It has smaller more rounded leaves. Its white flowers have characteristic purple or mauve anthers and it has a longer flowering period.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
Community Initiatives - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
tree privet - Main species image