Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden Privet

Garden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)

Garden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)

Have you ever had a favorite smell take you back to a long-forgotten memory? You know, something you don't smell very often but when you do it brings to mind some event from long ago. Fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies makes me think of baking with my mom. A now-empty perfume bottle reminds me of Dewey Lewis, a high school classmate who brought me a gift from his trip to France. The smell of dirty socks evokes another, a sack of forgotten potatoes - yes that too. I'll think of others.

My favorite smell:memory is without a doubt the Linden tree. I remember sitting in the shade of a huge Linden tree - its fragrance was subtle but stunning. This was in Glenmoore Pennsylvania and I was with my husband and son; we were watching a Little League game. It was one of life's perfect moments.

All of this leads me to the Garden Privet for which I have no specific associated memory - just a good feeling. The smell is unmistakable and more lovely, I think, than any rose. The hedge is alive with bees when Privet is blooming and the gentle hum is surprisingly soothing.

How do I know?
Confidence level: ★★★★☆
Habitat: Hedge along pastures; near homes.
Leaves: shiny, smooth, no rough edges
Stem: round, not hairy
Insects observed: BEES
Flower: white
Bloom: July

There are really only two choices: Wild Privet and Garden Privet.

Ovate leaf shape Lanceolate leaf shape Ovate or Lanceolate?  That is the question.

Wild Privet has lanceolate leaves and minutely hairy 1st year twigs.
Garden Privet has ovate leaves and young shoots are glabrous (hairless).

The photo looks like lanceolate leaves to me but the young twigs are hairless. Even with my glasses AND a magnifying glass they appear hairless. So go figure.

A Hedgerow of Garden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) A Bee visiting Garden Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)

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