Shrub 3 - 3.5 m tall, 3.5 - 4.5 m wide Leaves: opposite, nearly stalkless, medium to dark green, 2.5 - 5 cm long, 0.75 - 2.5 cm wide, elliptic to oblong with a tapering or broadly tapering base and pointed or rounded tip, hairy beneath (or only on midrib). Leaves turning reddish brown in autumn. Flowers: clustered in a nodding, branched inflorescence, white, small, tubular, with four petals. The flower tube is two to three times as long as the lobes. The odor of the flowers is unpleasant. Fruit: a berry-like drupe, black to bluish black, 6.5 mm long, spherical, with a slightly waxy coating (glaucous). Bark: light grayish brown and smooth. Twigs: green and hairy when young, becoming gray and less hairy with age. Form: broadly horizontal with wide-spreading branches, multistemmed.
Similar species: Without flowers, this species can be difficult to distinguish from Ligustrum vulgare, which has a flower tube equal to or shorter than the lobes. In general, the leaves of L. vulgare are less blunt-tipped and oblong than those of L. obtusifolium.
Flowering: June to July
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Asia. Occasionally escapes from cultivation and may be found in thickets, fields, woodland edges, disturbed sites, and along waterways.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Ligustrum is the Latin word for privet. Obtusifolium means blunt-leaved.