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An evergreen shrub of erect habit, 10 to 18 ft high, or a small tree up to 50 ft; devoid of down in all its parts. Leaves narrowly oval or ovate, from 3 to 6 in. long, 1 to 21⁄2 in. wide, tapering at the base, long-pointed, glossy dark green above; stalk 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers white, produced during August and September in erect terminal panicles 6 to 8 in. high and nearly as much wide. Fruits oblong, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, blue-black, not frequently produced with us. Bot. Mag., t. 2565.
Native of China; introduced in 1794. Of the truly evergreen privets, this is the handsomest and best. A well-grown plant with the large lustrous leaves and a crowd of erect panicles is one of the most effective of autumn garden pictures. According to Henry, this privet is 20 to 30 ft high, and the commonest evergreen tree in some parts of Hupeh, China. Wilson, in the Min River Valley, found one example 60 ft high and 10 ft in girth. In China it possesses some economic importance in being the tree on which the ‘white-wax’ insect deposits its eggs. It is sometimes confused with L. japonicum (q.v.).
L. lucidum makes a larger tree than was once supposed. By Winchester Cathedral there was a specimen measuring 49 × 6 ft (1961), probably the finest in the country; it was damaged beyond repair by a gale in 1970 and has been felled. The largest example at Kew, near the stone pine, is 42 × 3 ft and about 25 ft wide (1967).
Alan Mitchell tells us that there is a plant in Bournemouth Park which has leaves of a rich gold with some shading to dark green; it makes a large dome 36 ft high and 40 ft in spread (1985).
In the Manual of Messrs Hillier this is described as a very striking variegated form, with the leaves margined and mottled deep yellow and creamy white.