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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Scrophulariales *
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Ligustrum
*Some botanists include the Oleaceae
in the order Lamiales.
Privet was originally a name for the shrub Ligustrum ovalifolium and less often for Ligustrum vulgare, which were used for hedging. The term privets is now used for all members of the genus Ligustrum, which includes a number of ornamental shrubs and trees. They are placed in the olive family.

The flowers are small and fragrant and borne in panicles. They have four curled-back petals and two high stamens with yellow or red(?) anthers, between which is the low pistil; the petals and stamens fall off after the flower is fertilized, leaving the pistil in the calyx tube. The fruits, borne in clusters, are small purple drupes. In favorable growing conditions, individual shrubs may produce thousands of fruits. In the United States, and worldwide, many privet species introduced outside their native ranges have become invasive, spreading into wilderness areas and displacing native species.