Help me identify this shrub with dark blue winter berries?

blakekr(Zone 5B, NY State)March 6, 2008

This shrub is everywhere around here in the moist, low, floodplain areas. It's a graceful looking fan-shaped shrub, light gray wood, with dusky dark-blue berries of an oval shape that cling pretty well all winter long.

You OFTEN see this shrub all cozy-like with wild rose bushes, and not uncommonly, you'll find bittersweet climbing all over it. I wish I knew what it was, given how successful it is around here. Any ideas? Sorry for the very bad close-up of the berries. :)

mystery shrub with dark blue berries

blurry berries

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It could be Ligustrum (perhaps L. vulgare) which is an invasive plant that can form dense thickets and out compete native vegetation.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 6:33AM
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"... given how successful it is around here". Invasive species are indeed successful because they are so adaptable and can outcompete natives. You have a bad infestation of European Privet. Not too far from me is a beautiful forrested watershed, the dominent understory is European Privet, choking out everything else.
Now for your roses and bittersweet, are you sure they are not Asian weeds?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 9:01AM
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blakekr(Zone 5B, NY State)

Thank you so much! No one I have talked to locally was sure what this was ... now I know why!

I guess it has to go head-to-head with the japanese knotweed ... the knotweed seems to be winning.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:36AM
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Looks like a non-native privet sorry to say. Throw the berries in the garbage.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 4:46PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think we're all in agreement. European Privet and Ligustrum vulgare are the same plant. This is a widespread, non-native, invasive plant that takes over the understory of woodlands, outcompeting native shrubs and seriously reducing the number of woodland wildflowers as well.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:32PM
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