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Privet's Black Berries - What Evil Lurks Therein?
Photo showing privet berries and the shrub's fall foliage color.

Photo showing privet berries and the shrub's fall foliage color.

David Beaulieu

Privet isn't quite as attractive as some of the other invasive plants featured in these pictures, despite its dark blue berries in fall (so dark that they are practically black berries), as shown in this picture.

True, privet does also produce white flowers, and its fall foliage is a respectably attractive reddish-purple. But the popularity of privets is due largely to the dense foliage barrier they can provide when planted in a line and pruned into a hedge, a practice made famous by the British. There is a reason that "privacy" (as in "privacy fence") and "privet" sound a lot alike.

An alternative for the North American admirer of hedges concerned that privet shrubs are invasive plants is to grow hemlock or arborvitae, instead. Not only are both of these choices native, they are also evergreen, to boot.

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