Ligustrum vulgare - L.
European Privet
Other Common Names: European privet
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ligustrum vulgare L. (TSN 32980)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148992
Element Code: PDOLE07080
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Olive Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Oleaceae Ligustrum
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ligustrum vulgare
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (13Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, ILexotic, INexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, NCexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada BCexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: High/Medium
Rounded I-Rank: High
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Ligustrum vulgare is established across the eastern U.S. and in scattered western states. It is a stout and much branched shrub up to 5 m tall that is widely used as a hedge. Ligustrum vulgare is extremely aggressive and escapes from cultivation. It forms dense and impenetrable thickets that crowd out native species. Apparently, it often occurs in disturbed situations but may also occur in more intact vegetation such as river bottoms, closed canopy forests, and calcareous glades and barrens. Ligustrum vulgare is commonly escaped in the northeastern U.S. In Tennessee and Kentucky, Ligustrum vulgare is listed as a severe threat. In the southern Willamette Valley or Oregon, Ligustrum vulgare is classified as having a medium impact on native vegetation. Ligustrum vulgare is a prolific seed producer. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore it produces more than 1000 seeds per plant. Birds can spread seeds far from the original planting. Ligustrum vulgare also colonizes by root sprouts. Once established, Ligustrum vulgare is difficult to control.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: High/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Medium
I-Rank Review Date: 28Jun2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe, northern Africa, and temperate Asia (GRIN 2001).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Invasive in natural areas in the southeastern U.S. (Weber 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: High/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of changes in abiotic ecosystem processes or system-wide parameters found in the literature; assumption is that any alterations are not major/irreversible.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High/Moderate significance
Comments: A stout and much branced shrub up to 5 m tall (Webe 2003). It forms dense and impenetrable thickets that crowd out native species (Weber 2003).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: It forms dense and impenetrable thickets that crowd out native species (Weber 2003). Ligustrum vulgare is extremely agressive (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of impacts on particular native species found in the literature; assumption is that any impacts are not severe.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Ligustrum vulgare invades river bottoms and open woods (Randall and Marinelli 1996). In Michigan, it has escaped to forests, dry or damp (Voss 1996). In Ohio, it is found in closed canopy forests (Batcher 2000). In Tennessee, L. vulgare has been recorded in calcareous glades and barrens and in deciduous cove forests (Batcher 2000). In Wisconsin, it occurs in wetland, forest, and grassland (IPAW 2001). At least some of these communities are likely to be of conservation significance or contain species that are of conservation significance.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Established across the eastern U.S. and in scattered western states (Kartesz 1999). See the subnational distribution data in these sources: Baldwin et al. 2004, Rice 2004, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004, Iverson et al. 1999, Weldy et al. 2002, University of Tennessee Herbarium 2002, and Mehrhoff et al. 2003.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Moderate significance
Comments: Commonly escaped in the northeastern U.S (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). In Tennesse and Kentucky, Ligustrum vulgare is listed as a severe threat (KY EPPC 2001, TN EPPC 2001). In North Carolina, Ligustrum vulgare is rare and occurs in disturbed places (Weakley draft 2004). In Wisconsin, L. vulagre is classified as a potential invasive that is expanding its range (IPAW 2001). Invasive in New England (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). In the southern Williametter Valley or Oregon, Ligustrum vulgare is classified as having a medium impact on native vegetation; occasionally becomes a dominant in native plant communities, but not known to form large monocultures; significantly modifies natural habitats (NPS of Oregon 2002).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High/Moderate significance
Comments: At most 84% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001). At least 20% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Ligustrum vulgare invades river bottoms, open woods, fencerows, and roadsides (Randall and Marinelli 1996). In Michigan, it has escaped to disturbed ground and forests, dry or damp (Voss 1996). In Ohio, it is found in old fields, woodlots, and closed canopy forests (Batcher 2000). In Tennessee, L. vulgare has been recorded in calcareous glades and barrens and in deciduous cove forests (Batcher 2000). In Wisconsin, it occurs in wetland, forest, and grassland (IPAW 2001).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Introduced as a garden plant and used widely as a hedge (Randall and Marinelli 1996). It is one of the worst invasives sold by the nursery trade (Campbell, not dated). Ligustrum vulgare is extremely agressive (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Birds can spread seeds far from the orginal planting (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Assumption is that its total range is increasing.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Inferred from USDA (1990) and Kartesz (1999), 30-90% of its potential generalized range in the U.S. is currently occupied.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: The fruit of Ligustrum vulgare is eaten by birds; birds can spread seeds far from the orginal planting (Randall and Marinelli 1996). It is spread widely by birds and other animals (Miller 2003). Ligustrum vulgare has great potential for long-distance disperal in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 2001).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Introduced as a garden plant and used widely as a hedge (Randall and Marinelli 1996). It is one of the worst invasives sold by the nursery trade (Campbell, not dated). Ligustrum vulgare is extremely agressive (Randall and Marinelli 1996). It spreads by fruits and also by suckering (Weber 2003). Assumption is that its local range is increasing.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Ligustrum vulgare invades river bottoms, open woods, fencerows, and roadsides (Randall and Marinelli 1996). In Michigan, it has escaped to disturbed ground and forests, dry or damp (Voss 1996). In Ohio, it is found in old fields, woodlots, and closed canopy forests (Batcher 2000). In Tennessee, L. vulgare has been recorded in calcareous glades and barrens and in deciduous cove forests (Batcher 2000). L. vulgare grows well in high light, low nutrient soils, but will tolerate lower light levels if nutrients are increased (Grubb et al. 1996 in Batcher 2000). Apparently, it often occurs in disturbed situations but may also occur in more intact vegetation.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Invasive in natural areas in Australia; occurs in riparian habitats and forest edges (Weber 2003). Ligustrum vulgare occurs in Canada (Kartesz 1999). In Canada, it occurs in thickets and open woods, and in a roadside ditch (Scoggon 1978). These are habitats it has already invaded in the region of interest.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: It spreads by fruits and also by suckering (Weber 2003). It colonizes by root sprouts (Miller 2003). It is a prolific seed producer (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Ligustrum vulgare produces more than 1000 seeds per plant at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Medium

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Once established, Ligustrum vulgare is difficult to control; smaller plants can be dug out, larger plants can be cut and the cut stumps treated with glyphosate (Weber 2003). Larger plants are almost impossible to remove by hand, herbicides are needed (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Foilage treatment is best for actively growing plants and cut-stump treatment for freshly cut wood (Randall and Marinelli 1996). In Tennessee, it was reported that goats can be used to control privet if they can reach it (Batcher 2000). In Alabama, it was reported that burning top-kills L. vulgare and eliminates it over time (Batcher 2000).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High/Low significance
Comments: No information about minimum time commitment or longevity of seed, shoot, and root banks found in the literature but based on difficulty of management, assumption is that control requires more than 2 years.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Glyphosate is non-selective and can kill beneficial species (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Low significance
Comments: Introduced as a garden plant and used widely as a hedge (Randall and Marinelli 1996). At least in some areas, accessibility may be a problem.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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