When Privet Attacks

Glossy privet shown on left, Chinese privet shown on right.

Privet is a tall, bushy shrub with dark green oval leaves. Some privets are evergreen and some lose their leaves.

There are actually several species of privet that are invasive. The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health has guides to recognizing Japanese privet, glossy privet, and Chinese and European privet.

The United States has no native privets, but there are native plants that look similar, like the swamp-privet. Use plant identification books or consult an expert if you're not sure what plant you're dealing with.

Privets are dispersed by birds, which eat the berries and spread the seeds.

If privet is taking over your woods, there are things you can do.


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