Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ligustrum sinense Lour.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Loureiro, J. de (1790) Flora Cochinchinensis 1: 19. Type: Habitat Agreste prope Cantonem Sinarum.

Common name

Chinese Privet; Small Leaved Privet; Small-leaf Privet


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 1-3 m tall.


Leaf blades about 1-3.5 x 1.1-1.7 cm, petioles about 2-4.5 mm long, channelled on the upper surface. Lateral veins about 4-7 on each side of the midrib. Twigs clothed in brownish hairs.


Flowers about 6-7 mm diam. with a sweet sickly odour. Calyx tube about 1 mm long, lobes very small and pointed. Corolla tube about 1 mm long, lobes about 2-3 mm long. Stamens two, filaments about 2 mm long, attached to the corolla, anthers about 2 mm long. Ovary small, glabrous. Style about 2 mm long.


Fruits globular, about 5-6 mm diam., clothed in small scales, calyx persistent at the base. Seeds about 4 x 3 mm.


Cotyledons about 10-16 x 9-13 mm. First pair of leaves narrower than the cotyledons, apex retuse. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade margin undulate, underside with a few recurved hairs along the midrib. Terminal bud and stem clothed in pale, recurved hairs. Seed germination time 25 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from China, now naturalised in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 1100 m. Usually grows as a weed around habitation but also found on rain forest margins and in rain forest regrowth particularly on the Atherton Tableland.

Natural History & Notes

An introduced species, once commonly used as a hedge plant, now a widespread weed.

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