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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Ligustrum (ancient Latin name). Including Visiania. Oleaceae. Privet. Prim. Ornamental woody plants grown chiefly for their handsome foliage and the profusely produced white flowers; some species are excellent hedge plants.

Deciduous or evergreen shrubs, rarely trees: leaves opposite, short-petioled, entire, without stipules: flowers perfect, in terminal panicles; calyx campanulate, obscurely 4-toothed; corolla funnel-shaped, with mostly rather short tube and with 4 spreading lobes; stamens 2: fruits a 1-4-seeded berry-like drupe.—About 50 species, chiefly in E. Asia and Himalayas, distributed south to Austral., one in Eu. and N. Afr.

The privets are much-branched shrubs or rarely small trees with usually medium-sized leaves and with large or small panicles of small, white; usually fragrant flowers followed by small black, or in some varieties greenish or yellowish white, berry-like fruits, often remaining on the branches through the whole winter. Some deciduous species, as L. vulgare, L. Ibota, L. acuminatum, and L. amurense, are hardy North, while others, like L. ovalifolium, L. sinense and L. Quihoui, cannot be considered quite hardy north of Long Island. The evergreen species are only half-hardy or tender, but L. japonicum may be grown as far north as Philadelphia. They are all very valuable for shrubberies, with their clean, dark green foliage, which is rarely attacked by insects and keeps its green color mostly unchanged until late in fall, though L. acuminatum sheds the leaves rather early and L. Ibota and sometimes L. ovalifolium assume a pretty purplish hue; in mild winters some of the deciduous species hold part of their foliage until almost spring. L. vulgare, L. ovalifolium and others stand dust and smoke well and are valuable for planting in cities. L. ovalifolium is one of best shrubs for seaside planting, growing well in the very spray of the salt-water (known as California privet). Some are handsome in bloom, especially L. sinense, L. Massalongianum, L. Ibota, L. japonicum, L. lucidum and most of the other evergreen species; all are conspicuous in autumn and winter from the black berries, or in some varieties of L. vulgare, whitish, greenish or yellowish. L. vulgare, L. ovalifolium and L. amurense are well adapted for ornamental hedges; also L. sinense is used as a hedge plant, particularly in the South. The privets grow in almost any kind of soil, and even in rather dry situations and under the shade and drip of trees. Propagated by seeds sown in fall or stratified, sometimes not germinating until the second year; usually increased by cuttings of hardwood or by greenwood cuttings in summer under glass; varieties are sometimes grafted on L. vulgare or L. ovalifolium.

California privet for hedges. (Henry Hicks.)

First method.—Cuttings 8 to 14 inches of one-year wood are made in fall or winter, preferably the former, as they are occasionally damaged by the winter, even as far south as Alabama. These are tied in bundles and buried during winter. In the spring they are stuck in rows 2 to 6 inches by 2 to 3 1/2 feet, and kept cultivated. They are sold at one year, when 1 to 2 1/2 feet high, or at two years, when 2 to 4 feet high. If not sold at two years the plants are sometimes cut back to 3 inches to sprout again. They are dug by spade or tree-digger. These closely grown plants will make a hedge, especially if dug with spade and given short roots. If three-year plants, not cut back, are used, the base is open, as the old wood at the lower part of the plant has had its side branches weakened or killed by crowding and they do not readily branch out. Plants grown by this method are frequently planted in a double row.

Second method.—Cuttings of 5 to 6 inches of stout one-year wood, are made in November. The cuttings are made short so that the roots will not be cut off by the tree-digger. The leaves are stripped off, and the cuttings tied in small bundles, as large bundles mold. These are buried, tops up, over winter. In the spring, before growth starts, they are planted in rich mellow land 4 inches apart, with rows 8 inches apart. To plant, a back furrow is plowed in the center of the block, the top raked off, a line stretched and pegged down. The cuttings can then be inserted nearly full length. The trampling of the row settles the soil enough to expose the top buds. With a one-horse plow the bottom of the furrow is loosened where the planters have packed the soil, and new furrows arc made around the strip planted. The cuttings are tilled during summer with a wheel- hoe or hand-plow. To make wide plants, the tips of the shoots are pinched when they are about 3 inches long. This is repeated at intervals of about three weeks during the summer. Nitrate of soda may be used to hasten growth. This method produces a plant.

The plants may be dug in the fall and heeled-in to prevent possible winter-killing. They are then sorted into grades and planted in the spring 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart against the landside of a deep furrow, and a little soil kicked over the roots. The filling is completed with a one-horse plow. Before filling, fine manure may be spread near the plants.

The plants should be straightened up and trampled firm. When finished, they should have the lower branches covered and the lower end of the cutting not below the level of the tree-digger. The pinching-back process may be continued, or the tips may be cut with a sickle during the early part of the season, especially on plants of the smaller grade. To get more roots on the branches the plants may be hilled-up. They are cultivated with a one-horse cultivator or a two-horse riding cultivator. At two years these will make plants 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet high and 1 1/2 to 2 feet wide at the base. Dig with a tree-digger that operates on one or both sides. The plants may be set 12 to 15 inches apart, 4 to 6 inches deeper than before, and produce a hedge. A smaller number of plants is required than when plants grown by the first method are used. As there are numerous vigorous buds near the ground, the growth is very dense at the base. After planting, the tops may be cut off to an even eight.

Various forms of hedge are used. No. a is used on Long Island; 6 is used at Newport. At Newport, by repeated clipping, the leaves become very small and the growth dense, resembling a wall. Nos. d and e frequently result from using narrow plants and allowing them to grow at the top.

Third method.—At Biltmore Nursery, North Carolina, the privet cuttings are run through a stalk-cutter and the pieces sown in a furrow. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
  • Ligustrum acutitissimum, Koehne. Allied to L. Ibota. leaves lanceolate, acuminate, 1/2 - 2 1/2 in.- long: panicle about 1 in. long; calyx glabrous: anthers shorter than limb. Cent. China.—L. ciliatum, Sieb. Allied to L. acuminutum. leaves rhombic-ovate, acute, ciliate: panicle dense, small, about 1/2 in. long, 4-8-fld. Japan.
  • L. compactum. Hook. f. & Thorns. (L. lancifolium, Carr. L. longifolium and L. lincare, Hort., and I.. Simoni, Carr.). Evergreen shrub, quite glabrous: leaves lanceolate, to 6 in.: panicle large, compact; tube short. Himalayas.
  • L. delavayanum, Hariot (L. Prattii, Koehne}. Low evergreen shrub with spreading or nearly prostrate, pubescent branches: leaves ovate to ovate-oblong, glabrous, 1/2 - 1 1/2 in. long: panicles narrow, leafy at the base, 1-1 H m. long; corolla- tube longer than the limb. W. China.
  • L. Henryi, Hemsl. Evergreen shrub, to 12 ft.: branchlets pubescent: leaves orbicular-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, obtusely acuminate, dark green, glabrous, 1/2 - 1 1/2 in. long: panicles terminal, short-stalked, 1 1/2 - 4 in. long; corolla-tube longer than limb; calyx glabrous. W. China.—L. insulare, Decne. (L. Stauntonii, Hort., not DC.). Shrub, to 6 ft., allied to L. vulgaro: leaves elliptic-ovate to linear-lanceolate, yellowish green, often pendulous, 2-3 in.: panicles rather large. Origin uncertain.
  • L. lancifolium, Carr., L.longifolium, and L. lineare, Hort. (syn. L. compactum).
  • L. pekinense, Hort. (syn. Syringa pekinensis).
  • L. Prattii, Koehne (syn. L. Delavayanum).
  • L. Simoni, Carr. (syn. L. compactum).
  • L. Stauntonii, Hort. (syn. L. insulare).
  • L. strongylophyllum, Hemsl. evergreen shrub or small tree, almost glabrous - leaves orbicular or obovate, 1/2-1 in.: panicle rather loose. Cent. China.
  • L. Walkeri, Decne. Allied to L. nepalense: leaves ovate to lanceolate, glabrous, to 3 in.: panicle large, to 6 in. Ceylon, Neilgherries.
  • L. yunnanense, L. Henry. Shrub, to 12 ft.: branches glabrous: leaves subcoriaceous, deciduous, oblong-lanceolate, glabrous, 2-5 in. long: panicle loose, 6-7 in. long; corolla-tube short. Yunnan.


The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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