Information on Wild Privet

Common Name: Wild Privet
Scientific Name: Ligustrum vulgare
Irish Name: Pribhéad
Family Group: Oleaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Wild Privet is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This bushy, semi-evergreen shrub is usually found in hedgerows, on limestone and also, occasionally, on cliffs.  Growing to a height of 10m, from May to July it carries dense spikes of strongly-scented, creamy-white 4-petalled flowers (4-6mm across).  The lanceolate leaves are untoothed, somewhat leathery and opposite and in autumn, the plant bears poisonous black shiny berries.  This is considered to be a native plant in some areas of Ireland and an introduction in others.  Wild Privet belongs to the family Ligustrum.  

I identified this shrub at Lowtown, Co Kildare in 2009 when I also photographed it.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Privet, Wild
Privet, Wild

Although Ligustrum vulgare was widely planted as hedging at one stage, Ligustrum ovalifolium – introduced from Japan  - has replaced it because its leaves remain in place longer during the winter months.  However it provides berries for our winter birds as well as cover for them and its leaves are the larval food for the beautiful large European moth, the Privet Hawk Moth.  Its flowers are also much visited by bees in summer.