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Species Notebook:

  • Wild Privet

    • Wild Privet: the black death

      Post date: Wednesday, 1 October, 2014 - 00:00

      If you encounter spikes of black berries in the hedgerow these will probably be the fruit of the wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare); the flowers come in cream spikes so it is natural that the berries should form the same shape. The berries are poisonous to human beings and should be avoided but they are readily eaten with no ill effects by birds, especially members of the thrush family (which includes blackbirds of course). One berry would not cause you grief but too many can be really, really serious!

      The wild privet prefers chalky soil so it is common in some parts of the county and less so than others; it is certainly more common in the south of England than elsewhere. It is semi-evergreen, being wintergreen but it replaces some of its leaves each year but it is not a conifer though. It can be quite a viigorous shrub and in favourable habitat it can become quite dominant.



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