Herb: Japanese Privet
Latin name: Ligustrum japonicum
Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Medicinal use of Japanese Privet:The fruit is said to be a nutrient tonic. Extracts of the plant show antibacterial, antiulcer and hypotensive activity.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Woods and thickets in lowland and hills, C. and S. Japan.
Edible parts of Japanese Privet:The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. Young shoots - cooked. A famine food, used when all else fails. The shoots contain a glycoside and are probably toxic.
Other uses of the herb:A commercial insect wax is produced on the branches as a result of eggs being laid by insects. Another report says that the wax is produced by the plant due to the stimulation of the feeding insects. Yet another report says that the wax is produced by the insects. It is used for candles and as a polish for earthenware pots, book edges etc. The plant can be used as a hedge. It is very amenable to trimming.
Propagation of Japanese Privet:The seed does not require any pre-treatment and can be sown in the spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 - 30cm in a sheltered outdoor bed in November/December. High percentage.
Cultivation of the herb:Woods and thickets in lowland and hills, C. and S. Japan.
Known hazards of Ligustrum japonicum:Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus is recorded as being mildly toxic and it is quite possible that other members of the genus also contain toxins.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.