Wax-leaf privet / Japanese privet

Ligustrum lucidum

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Ligustrum japonicum is a species of flowering plant in the Oleaceae family.

It has a low or medium size, 8-10 metres high maximum. It usually does not exceed 5 metres and often occurs in a shrub form, then used to form hedges. When presented as a tree, the straight and smooth twigs form a balloon-shaped conical crown with dense foliage.

It can live in any type of soil, although it develops better in fresh and sandy soils. It is resistant to drought and suffers a little if experiencing a severe frost. It tolerates shady areas, although it grows best in sunny areas. It has resistance to soil salinity. It can be easily pruned.

It has rapid to medium growth, and lives for around a century.

The scientific name of the genus comes from what Pliny the Elder already gave it as a derivative of the Latin verb lĭgo, āre (tying), due to the fact that young twigs, because of their flexibility, can be used to tie up.

The leaves are perennial, although in the cold years they can lose quite a bit of foliage. They are simple, whole, oval, with a pointed apex, 4-10 cm long, with a short petiole (1-1.5 cm.) And a cuneate or slightly rounded base. The central vein is very evident. The colour is dark green and bright in the midrib and a paler, more opaque shade on the underside.

The flowers are small, numerous, of whitish, yellowish or greenish colour, somewhat fragrant and are grouped in terminal clusters. They are hermaphrodites and bloom in late Spring or early Summer.

The fruit grows in a cluster; they are small, balloon-shaped and juicy drupes (berries) of a bluish-black colour, the size of a pea, with a very bitter taste. They are toxic. Fructifies at the end of the Summer, from September to October and afterwards they stay on the tree for a long time. At times, they have been used as colourants in wines.

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