Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Japanese Privet

Japanese Privet, technically called Ligustrum japonicum is a pest plant here in Mississippi. The plant thoughtfully placed in some one's landscaping has become an invasive species. When we first moved onto the hill, we took a backhoe (yes, it is that stubborn) and ripped privet and fence row to clear the view immediately surrounding the house. We pitted the yard trying to remove every last root. But removal is elusive. We still have a beautiful specimen flowering next to a mature tree.

As you can see we still have fence rows that don't really need fences because of the thick cover of J.Privet. To the locals and the US Forestry Service the plant has become a pest.

Yet, the blooms are beautiful and the sweet fragrance perfumes the entire farm (actually the town and outlying area). Unless someone is burning or spreading chicken fertilizer this is what you smell here in early May. The cows loll in the shade. The brown thrashers love the messy fence rows. And, when you have bees hanging on their hives, the privet is a welcome nectar and pollen plant. Look at the pollen on the leaves in the first picture. In fact, we have been busily assembling honey frames to try to keep up with the bees' production in this privet induced honey flow.

After the flowering, the privet produces a little purple fruit on which the birds feast all winter.

So, I wonder if all invasive species are bad?

Other than trying to take over yard, garden, and pastures, Japanese Privet seems to give much to nature and farm.

1 comment:

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

J Privet isn't quite as likely to sprawl here up north & is a popular hedgerow. I grew up with one, quite literally; it was planted when I was a small child, and by the time I left for college, it was a lush privacy fence!

I'm interested to hear your thoughts about your bees doing so well. I meant to ask you after hearing and reading so much about the current problems with so many colonies -- and so many theories about what's causing the trouble. Any ideas?