New South Wales,
how do I identify a privot tree
Do you mean 'privet'? this is a hedging shrub not a tree.
12 Aug, 2010
I've had some grow into trees. They're only hedging shrubs if you cut them regularly. If they get lost & forgotten (ahem, behind a shed..) in a big garden they can get pretty big - mine were up 25 feet or so high.
The latin name is Ligustrum ovalifolium - have a look at pictures on this site or others. You can find it on here by clicking on the "L" at the bottom of the page and going to Ligustrum.
Privet is evergreen, with smooth lemon-shaped (pointed oval) leaves. It has very strongly smelling - chokingly sweet - small pyramids of white flowers in early summer. It takes clipping well which is why it's very commonly used for hedging.
In New South Wales, you might also have Japanese or Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum), or Glossy Privet (L. lucidum). All privets have smooth-edged leaves in pairs--called opposite leaves, in botany.
Waxleaf Privet has very hard, plastic-like, dark green leaves with lighter undersides, about 5-10 cm long. Its flowers are paper white, in 10-15 cm clusters, on short leafy shoots, with a funny scent like mixed black pepper and honey. The tree grows at a moderate rate to 5-7 m tall and wide. Trimming reduces, but doesn't eliminate flowering.
Glossy Privet grows much faster--to 10 m tall and wide--and has leaves that are larger, and more medium green, with long "tails" at their tips. They are frequently folded at the midrib into a "V" shape. The flowers have the same scent, but are cream color, in large sprays to 30 cm long at the branch tips. Neither flowers nor fruit are produced on trimmed plants. To confuse things, Glossy Privet is often sold as "Japanese Privet"!
Both species produce clusters of 5 mm berries like tiny black olives--birds love them, but patio gardeners hate them! Volunteer seedlings may be a problem in moister climates than mine.
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