Oleaceae (olive) family
Also known as
Japanese privet, broadleaf privet
Where is it originally from?
Temperate and tropical regions, China
What does it look like?
Small-to-large evergreen, hairless tree to 15+ m (sometimes a dense shrub) with distinctive lumpy warts on the stems. Dark green leaves (5-13 x 3-6 cm) are glossy on the top surface and arranged in opposite pairs on the stems. Tiny fragrant, creamy flowers make up flowerheads (25 x 20 cm) produced from November to March and are followed by bluish or purplish-black berry-like fruit (6 x 5 mm) coated with a powdery 'bloom'.
Are there any similar species?
Camphor laurel and native Nestegis species (maire) are similar.
Why is it weedy?
Produces many highly-viable seeds in widely-dispersed berries. Fast-growing, very long-lived (100 years +) and forms very dense, tall stands. Very tolerant of shade, frost, damage, grazing, all well-drained soil types, high to moderate temperatures, damp or drought conditions, salt and wind.
How does it spread?
Birds, vegetation dumping and soil movement all spread seeds. Common seed sources are roadsides, farm and urban hedges, gardens and wasteland.
What damage does it do?
Forms dense carpet of seedlings on forest floor, and grows through understorey to dominate and replace canopy trees in most forest types. Poisonous berries may possibly impact on native fauna, especially insects.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Most coastal and lowland forest types (intact and disturbed), shrublands, fernland, cliffs, and coastline.
What can I do to get rid of it?
1. Pull or dig seedlings (all year round). Leave on site to rot down.
2. Cut and paint stump (within 15 minutes of cutting): glyphosate (200ml/L) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/L + penetrant) or a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L (200ml/L)
3. Frilling: make deep cuts into the sapwood at regular intervals around the base of the tree, taking care not to ring-bark the plant, immediately saturate the cuts with metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant) or a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L (undiluted) .
4. Injection method: Drill sloping holes into the sapwood at regular intervals around the tree, immediately saturate with metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant) or undiluted a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L .
5. Spray (spring-autumn): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L + penetrant).
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Untreated stumps resprout. Reseeds profusely in bared areas. Follow up 6-monthly, easiest to spot during spring flowering. Don't replant until seedling regrowth ceases, as privet will grow through groundcover.