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Chinese privet is a shrub or small tree that grows to 5+m tall. It is evergreen or semi-deciduous with distinctive warty lumps on stems and densely hairy shoots. Oval, dull green leaves (25-60 x 12-25mm) occasionally have wavy edges. Loose drooping clusters (up to 10cm long) of small, tubular and very fragrant white flowers appear from July to March, followed by round, green berries that mature to dull purplish-black.
While Chinese privet inhabits forest margins, heavily disturbed bush, shrublands, open stream and alluvial river systems, fernland, rocklands, cliffs, coastal and estuarine areas, and inshore islands.
Privet produces many highly-viable seeds in widely-dispersed berries. It is very dominant, spreading dense carpets of seedlings that displace native shrubs and prevent native plant regeneration. Privet is very tolerant of shade, frost, damage, grazing, all well-drained soil types, high to moderate temperatures, damp or drought conditions, salt and wind. Chinese privet is short-lived but constantly replaced.
Biocontrol has been released for this pest plant.