Ligustrum ovalifolium

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Ligustrum ovalifolium Hassk.


Life form: shrub
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun - Exposure: half shade   7

Moisture: moderately moist bis Moisture: moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam - Soil: sandy clay

Arrangement: opposite
Leaves: evergreen

Shape: ovate

Division: simple

Shape: salverform
Fruit: drupe

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Inflorescence: panicle

Petals: not specified
Habit: not specified

Growth form: not specified


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Ligustrum ovalifolium, commonly known as California privet, is a dense shrub with glossy dark-green foliage.


Ligustrum ovalifolium was described by Justus Carl Hasskarl. The name is considered as validly published.


Ligustrum ovalifolium is a species in the genus Ligustrum which contains approximately 51 to 57 species and belongs to the family of the Oleaceae (Olive Family).


Ligustrum ovalifolium - habitus
Ligustrum ovalifolium - leaves


The comparatively fast-growing shrubs reach heights of 1 to 3 metres, they have a erect habit and produce multiple stems. The main growing season is in spring and summer. The plants reach a width of 2 to 3 metres.

Wood and Bark


Ligustrum ovalifolium is evergreen. The green, simple leaves are opposite. They are ovate, entire and petiolate. The foliage is dense.

Flowers and Fruits

Ligustrum ovalifolium produces panicles of showy, white salverform flowers from May to July.

From summer to autumn the shrubs produce ornamental black drupes that are persistent on the plant.

Root System

The plants form shallow roots.


Ligustrum ovalifolium is native to Japan and is naturalized in the southern states of the US.


The shrubs prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on fresh to moist soil. They prefer sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy or sandy clay soil with a pH between 5,9 and 7,7. The plants need a soil depth of at least 51 centimetres for good growth. They tolerate temperatures down to -18°C (USDA zone 7) and need a frost-free period of at least 23 weeks.

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • low: soil salinity, anaerobic soil, calcareous soil
  • medium: drought
  • high: road salt


The ornamental value of Ligustrum ovalifolium lies especially in its fragrance. The recommended planting distance is 1,2 to 2,4 metres. Suited for windbreaks and soil protection, medium-high cut hedges, free-growing high hedges, high cut hedges and for noise and dust protection, as well as suited as cemetery plant, bird pasture and as plant providing shelter for birds.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants usually require only a moderate amount of maintenance.

  • Remove crossing shoots late in winter or in early spring to promote healthy growth.


  • Sowing seed in a cold frame in spring. The seeds require vernalization.
  • Semi-ripe cuttings in summer
  • Ripe cuttings in winter



All plant parts may cause serious discomfort if consumed

Aeskulap  Please read the health issues note

Pests and Diseases

Leaf blotches are a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection. Bacterial spots are rather angular and yellow-rimmed while fungal spots usually are rather rounded with an area of fruiting bodies. Destroy affected parts, additionaly apply fungizide it is is a fungal infection.

Honeydew, galls and distorted leaves are a sign for an infestation with aphids. Use an insecticide or control biologically , e.g. with parasitic wasps or predators such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

Scale insects that sit on the undersides of the leaves and excrete honeydew can be controlled with insecticide or biologically with parasitic wasps.

White spots on flowers and leaves in combination with buds that do not open indicate an infestation with thrips. These insects can be controlled by improving ventilation and by watering regularly as well as by using an insecticide or biolocial pest control (predatory mites).

Stunted growth, fungal fruiting bodies in autumn and dieback of the plants indicate an infection with honey fungus. Remove affected plants including roots.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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