Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Ligustrum vulgare L.

Fully-hardy, bushy, deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves, to 6cm long, and panicles, to 5cm long, of white flowers in summer, followed by black fruit.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Commonly used for ornamental hedging in England and probably an ancient garden plant.  ‘Privet or prim Print.  Ligustrum.  This is a low shrub; the leaves are a grass green, the flowers white & the berries black.  It grows in hedges and flowers in May and June, ye berries being ripe in September.  The leaves and flowers are accounted cooling drying and astringent; good for ulcers & inflammation of ye throat, bleeding of the gums and relaxation of the uvula.  Dioscorides commends the flowers steeped in vinegar as good for the head-ach.’  [Blackwell pl.140/1737].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.636/1843].  A significant weed in the gardens and surrounding countryside.


Ligustrum vulgare Thunb. (1784) = Ligustrum ovalifolium Hassk.

Published Jan 20, 2010 - 12:10 PM | Last updated Jul 28, 2010 - 02:47 PM

Figured are the lance-shaped leaves and round black berries.  Blackwell pl.140, 1737.

Ligustrum vulgare L. | Blackwell pl.140/1737 | BHL

Family Oleaceae
Region of origin

Europe to Asia

Common Name

Common privet

Name in the Camden Park Record

Ligustrum vulgare – Privet 

Confidence level high