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A semi-evergreen or, in severe winters or in poor soil, a deciduous shrub 10 to 15 ft high, of vigorous growth, forming a dense thicket of erect stems; young shoots usually quite glabrous. Leaves 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, oval, wedge-shaped at the base, blunt or pointed at the apex, glossy green and glabrous on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced during July in a stiff, erect, terminal panicle, 2 to 4 in. high and about the same wide; they are very crowded in the panicle, dull white, and have a heavy, unpleasant odour. Calyx and individual flower-stalk smooth. Corolla 1⁄3 in. long. Fruits globose, shining, black.
Native of Japan. The oval-leaved privet is a worthy associate of the common one for dark corners or places starved by roots of trees where scarcely anything else will grow. For hedges it is preferable to the common privet because of its more evergreen nature; it has, in fact, almost entirely displaced it for that purpose. It is not worthy of being put to better use, being of stiff, ungainly habit, its flowers dull, and to most people evil-smelling.
† L. ‘Vicaryi’. – Leaves golden yellow. Distributed from the Vicary Gibbs collection at Aldenham in 1922. It was considered by Rehder to be a hybrid between L. ovalifolium and L. vulgare (L. × vicaryi Rehd.).