12 – December Ligustrum lucidim (OLEACEAE) Privet

Description Small tree native to China and Japan. Leaves somewhat waxy-leathery, dark-green above, lighter below. Flowers Spring to Summer.

Photo: Mark Crocker

Why it’s bad The leaves and fruit are poisonous and if eaten can result in severe stomach irritation, pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Drought hardy, thrives on poor sites.

Control Cut off at ground level and paint with neat herbicide. Take care not to scatter ripe berries, which germinate readily.

Alternatives There are many attractive Christmas flowering native replacements, including Bursaria spinosa (Blackthorn) and Commersonia bartramia (Scrub Christmas).

Native alternative Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa) Photo: Robert Whyte