privet (prĭvˈĭt) [key], any plant of the genus Ligustrum, Old World shrubs or small trees of the family Oleaceae (olive family), some of which are common as hedge plants. Privet hedges are popular for their dark green leaves and their ease of cultivation even in adverse city conditions. The various species are evergreen, nearly evergreen, or deciduous, some producing small white flowers in profusion. They are usually propagated by cuttings. The common privet ( L. vulgare ) has become naturalized in the E United States; the California privet ( L. ovalifolium ) is a native of Japan. Privet is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Scrophulariales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.