21 Dec Privet (Large-leaf)
Broad-leaf privet is an evergreen shrub. Used in gardens, it now has extensive environmental, agricultural and human health impacts.
Origin: Eastern Asia
Habit: Broad-leaf privets prefer warm, humid environments with moderate to high soil moisture throughout the year. Creeks, gullies and drainage lines are favoured by both species, but seedlings are able to establish in drier areas if run-off water is temporarily available. Both species occur in areas with rainfall between 700–1600 mm. Its seedlings can tolerate very low light levels, allowing them to persist beneath dense canopies of vegetation. Broad-leaf privet grows as an evergreen shrub or small tree to a height of 4–10m. Privets have been found growing in a range of soil types, from pure sands through to friable loams, and almost pure clays. However, it is generally agreed that privets thrive on more fertile shale or clay-derived soils found in riparian areas.
Leaves: Leaves are oval with a pointed tip, up to 13cm long, dark, glossy, green with a paler, dull under-surface.
Flowers: Cream or white tubular flowers with four petal-like lobes occur in branched clusters – each flower is 3.5–6mm long. Flowers have a sickly sweet fragrance
Fruit and Seeds: Berries are 9mm long and 12mm in diameter, and are green when young, turning red through to blue to glossy or purplish-black as they ripen. Berries usually contain two oval-shaped ribbed seeds, 5mm long. Privet berries and leaves have been reported by overseas sources to be mildly toxic to humans and livestock if ingested in large amounts; however, no known cases of poisoning have occurred in Australia.
Roots: Roots are woody, branching, thickened at the crown and mostly shallow.
Dispersal: Privet seeds are commonly spread by fruit-eating birds. Birds such as pied currawongs, silver-eyes and rosellas can spread the seed widely into previously uninfested areas. Privet seedlings often germinate in clusters, as a result of birds regurgitating the seeds. Birds and rabbits assist germination by removal of the soft coating around the seed. Privets are also spread through the sale of garden plants from nurseries and markets, the dumping of garden waste containing seeds and the sale of foliage in floral arrangements containing fruit and seeds. Seeds can also be spread in flowing water.
Control: Hand dig / pull small plants. Various foliar spray methods also drill-injection; frilling; cut and paint. Relatively easy to control.
It is reported that privet pollen causes allergic reactions and hay fever. It is unlikely that the pollen of privet is strongly allergenic; however, cross-reactivity can occur where people who are sensitive to grass pollen can become sensitive to privet, producing allergic reactions.
For more information go to: https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/PrivetBroadleaf