Thumbnail Image

An ecological study of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) in the Waikato Region

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) has naturalised across the Waikato region invading lowland native forest and wetland habitat. This shrub has the ability to form a dense canopy or subcanopy and appears to exclude other native species from establishing in the understorey. Chinese privet seedlings were found in abundance underneath privet canopy, where they grow slower than when invading a new site yet are able to succeed adult plants and continually occupy a site. Chinese privet seedlings establish readily under intact native canopy but are more prolific in disturbed high light environments. Fruit is produced in abundance and is dispersed by birds particularly beneath perch sites, which limits seed dispersal over open ground. Chinese privet seedlings appear to be palatable to stock, but rapidly out-compete and dominate regenerating native species when grazing pressure is removed. A short-lived seedbank, six months to one year viability, suggests that the removal of adult plants will quickly reduce the number of seedlings establishing. This invasive shrub is a serious weed in south-eastern USA where it is well established and would appear to have similar potential in New Zealand to form vast, dense thickets with very low floristic diversity.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
CBER Contract Report
Grove, E. & Clarkson, B.D. (2005). An ecological study of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) in the Waikato Region. CBER Contract Report No. 41, prepared for Environment Waikato Regional Council. Hamilton, New Zealand: Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Waikato.