Chinese privet grows along roadsides, in woods, bottomlands, and along streams in the Piedmont and in all other parts of the state. It can form dense thickets which effectively wipes out the herbaceous vegetation.
The shrub produces a small black fruit in late summer, early fall which is consumed by birds; birds are the most effective dispersers for this aggressive plant. Besides the black fruit, the shrub can be identified buy its oval-shaped leaves which grow oppositely along the branches. The leaves are dark and glossy on the top surface and pale on the underside with a hairy midrib. The shrub grows up to 15' and has smooth gray or tan bark. In mid-summer, the tree produces small white flowers which grow in clusters at the end of each branch.
Fact Sheet: Chinese Privet
Photo credits (left to right): Troy Evans, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bugwood.org;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org