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t is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2–5 m (rarely 6 m) tall, with smooth, pale grey-brown bark on the stems. The leaves are opposite, 5–10 cm long and 2–5 cm broad, glossy dark green above, paler glaucous to yellowish green below, thick and leathery textured, and with an entire margin. The flowers are white, with a four-lobed corolla 5–6 mm long; they are borne in clusters 7–15 cm long in early summer. The fruit is an oval drupe, 10 mm long, ripening purple-black with a glaucous waxy bloom in early winter; in Japan they are popularly likened to mouse or rat droppings. The species is closely related to the Chinese Ligustrum lucidum, differing in its smaller size (L. lucidum making a tree to over 10 m tall), and elongated oval (not subglobose) fruit.
This privet species is native to central and southern Japan (Honshū, Shikoku, Kyūshū, Okinawa) and Korea. It is widely cultivated in other regions, and is naturalized in California and in the southeastern United States from Texas to Virginia. This one was spotted along the bank of some constructed ponds at Brick Pond Park in North Augusta (Aiken County), SC.
It is also called wax-leaf privet. It is considered an invasive species in South Carolina.