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Natural Highlights: Eastern Swamp Privet

  Swamp Privet Flowers

If you take an early spring walk along the new segment of the Wolf River Greenway on the north end of Mud Island, you'll see something yellow blooming in the otherwise grey and swampy woods. Chances are, you'll be looking at Swamp Privet (Forestiera acuminatum), an obligate wetland plant at home in our riverine bottomlands.  Once the leaves come in, it resembles the exotic invasive Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense), but, though both species are members of the Family Oleaceae, there are key differences between them.  One is, of course, origin.  Chinese privet is an asiatic species introduced to North America by people, with all of the terrible traits of a pest plant.  Swamp Privet has a limited distribution in the United States and is NOT invasive; it's a true wetland plant, preferring low swampy sites.  Chinese Privet thrives when its feet are dry, often taking over urban woods after wetlands have been drained and dried out. And Swamp Privet has those nice yellow flowers, as opposed to the white flowers of Chinese Privet, though both produce a similar dark purple drupe in the fall.  

For more information on Swamp Privet, explore the following links:

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=foac

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=FOAC

http://www.rnr.lsu.edu/plantid/species/swamprivet/swamprivet.htm

 

Posted by Cathy Justis at 11:59 AM