Bull Creek Foundation - Invasives - Ligustrum
Updated 30 August 2004


Invasive Species: Ligustrum

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Ligustrum is a native of Japan, China and Korea and a member of the olive family. It has been planted around central texas by folks that wanted a tree that is evergreen and winter color (blue berries on the tree).

The green turning to blue berries are also very popular as a food source for birds and this have been spread far and wide. You'll find Ligustrum trees and seedlings sprouting up everywhere in greenbelts, along creek beds and in fields or yards that have been neglected for a time. It grows very quickly and should be pulled up by the roots or the stumps treated when cut.

Because of its berries, the non-native Ligustrum is crowding out other native trees and plants. Becauase birds eat the berries and deposit the seeds far and wide, the Chinaberry spreads quickly. It is therefore an invasive species that should not be planted in landscapes and quite frankly should be removed. The little saplings can be pulled up quite easily.

Below is a series of pictures that show how to indentify Ligustrum. Clicking on the links below the pictures will display a larger picture in a separate window:

Ligustrum can be a big multi-trunked tree, with a dense crown of leaves and berries. Lots of small Ligustrum plants are often in the vicinity.


Ligustrum Tree

Medium to Large Ligustrum are nearly always multi-trunked and are in gray color, as shown in this close-up:


Older Ligustrum Tree

Ligustrum branches are long and straight, with many oval leaves with points. The leaf color is a darker green than native trees which can look similiar. Pointed oval leaves: Ligustrum, Oval leaves without points: native.


Ligustrum branch with leaves.


The leaf color is a darker green than native trees which can look similiar. Pointed oval leaves: Ligustrum, Oval leaves without points: native.


Ligustrum leaves - close-up


And finally, Ligustrum berries, shown green here, turn blue in the fall:


Ligustrum leaves and berries.


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