This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Evergreen or deciduous shrubs or trees with simple entire leaves and terminal panicles of small white flowers. Fruit a spherical 2-celled 1- or 2-seeded berry. Besides the common European species there are several from North India, China, and Japan. The name is derived from ligare, to bind, in allusion to the use made of the pliant shoots.
1. L. vulgdre. Common Privet or Prim. - Leaves linear-lanceolate or oblong, acute or obtuse. Flowers white, appearing in June. The ordinary form of this useful native shrub loses its foliage towards the end of Autumn and bears purplish black berries; but there is a variety with persistent foliage. And there are white- and yellow-berried and gold and silver variegated varieties, as well as a weeping form.
2. L. Japonicun. - An evergreen robust-growing shrub with coriaceous larger and broader leaves than the foregoing and slightly fragrant rather larger flowers. There is a variety with handsome variegated foliage.
3. L. Sinensis. - An evergreen or quasi-evergreen shrub with slender pubescent branches and ovate-lanceolate leaves shining above and hairy beneath. Flowers small, white. China.
4. L. lucidum, syn. L. ovalifolium. - A pretty evergreen shrub with oval, ovate-lanceolate, elliptical or nearly rotundate leaves and white flowers. Native of Japan, and very near and probably a variety of L. Japonicum.