Privet - Small-leaf


Ligustrum sinense

family: OLEACEAE


  • Also known as Chinese Privet and Hedge Privet: a much-branched, hardy, evergreen, fast-growing shrub to 4m from Asia, formerly used extensively for hedging.
  • Leaves are oval with a pointed tip, to 6cm long, and often have a wavy margin.
  • Masses of heavily-scented tiny white tubular flowers occur in drooping sprays in spring; they are highly allergenic.
  • Sprays of small round blue-black berries persist into winter.


One plant may produce up to a million seeds, which are spread into bushland by birds, and are also washed down waterways. Small-leaf Privet seedlings grow like a carpet in creekline silt deposits.

Impact on Bushland

Seeks out the more fertile soils of gullies, creeklines and rainforest edges, and watercourses affected by urban runoff; shades out native plants, transforms the habitat into one dominated by weeds.


Throughout the Blue Mountains.

Alternative Planting

Native Plants
Long-leaved Lomatia
(Lomatia myricoides)
Water Gum (Tristania neriifolia)
Swamp Baeckia (Baeckia linifolia)

Lillypilly (Acmena smithii)
Woolly Tea Tree
(Leptospermum grandifolium)

Exotic alternatives
Rondeletia (Rondeletia strigosa)
May Bush (Spiraea cantoniensis)


Check first for nests and dreys. Every stem must be poisoned by cutting and painting. Do not leave woody material lying on the ground. Pull seedlings by hand. Contact BMCC before removing from watercourses or steep land.

See also Large Leaf Privet.

Privet – small-leaf is a Class 4 Noxious Weed.

Class 4 noxious weeds are plants that pose a threat to primary production, the environment or human health, are widely distributed in an area to which the order applies and are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

Control objective
Minimise the negative impact of those plants on the economy, community or environment of NSW.

Control action
The growth and spread of the plant must be controlled according to the measures specified in a management plan published by the local control authority, and the plant may not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed.

— NSW Noxious Weeds Act of 1993

In the darkness under mature plants a carpet of Small-leaf Privet seedlings thrives.
photo: © Barbara Harley

Picture of Small-leaf Privet

Small-leaf Privet grows rapidly to 4m, producing masses of white flowers in long drooping sprays in spring.
photo: © Barbara Harley

Picture of Small-leaf Privet flowers

Tiny white tubular flowers are heavily scented, producing allergic reactions in many people.
photo: © Barbara Harley

Picture of Small-leaf Privet berries

Berries are small and succulent, and spread by both native and exotic birds.
photo: © Barbara Harley

 Small-leaf Privet berries are spread by both native and exotic birds.

A silvereye with a small-leaved privet (Ligustrum sinense) fruit.
photo: © Nevil Lazarus

 Small-leaf Privet seeks out creeklines.

Small-leaf Privet seeks out creeklines and sensitive moist forest.
photo: © Barbara Harley