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 Buxus subsp. var.  Box, Boxwood
Common Box (Buxus sempervirens)
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 2 m to 12 m
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Lifespan: perennial
Features: evergreen
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Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Buxaceae > Buxus var. , L.

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Buxus is a genus of about 70 species in the family Buxaceae. Common names include box (majority of English-speaking countries) or boxwood (North America).

The boxes are native to western and southern Europe, southwest, southern and eastern Asia, Africa, Madagascar, northernmost South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, with the majority of species tropical or subtropical; only the European and some Asian species are frost-tolerant. Centres of diversity occur in Cuba (about 30 species), China (17 species) and Madagascar (9 species).

They are slow-growing evergreen shrubs and small trees, growing to 2-12 m (rarely 15 m) tall. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate, and leathery; they are small in most species, typically 1.5-5 cm long and 0.3-2.5 cm broad, but up to 11 cm long and 5 cm broad in B. macrocarpa. The flowers are small and yellow-green, monoecious with both sexes present on a plant. The fruit is a small capsule 0.5-1.5 cm long (to 3 cm in B. macrocarpa), containing several small seeds.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Buxus (ancient Latin name). Buxàcex. Box Tree. Ornamental small trees or shrubs grown chiefly for their handsome evergreen foliage.

Leaves opposite, short-petioled, penninerved, entire, glabrous or nearly so, coriaceous: fls. monoecious, apetalous, in axillary or terminal clusters, consisting usually of 1 terminal pistillate fl., with usually 6 sepals and with a 3-celled superior ovary with 3 short styles and several lateral staminate fls. with 4 sepals and 4 stamens: fr. an obovate or nearly globular 3-pointed caps., separating into 3 valves, each containing 2 shining black seeds.—About 30 species in the mts. of Cent. and E. Asia, N. Afr., and S. Eu., also in W. India and Cent. Amer.

These are evergreen shrubs of rather slow growth, with shining, small foliage and inconspicuous flowers and fruits. Buxus japónica seems to be the hardiest species, and it has proved quite hardy at the Arnold Arboretum; and B. microphyUa is of about the same hardiness, while B. sempervirens is somewhat tenderer; B. balearica and B. Wauichiana are still more tender. B. sempervirens stands pruning very well, and in the old formal gardens of Europe was formerly much used for hedges, and sometimes trimmed into the most fantastic shapes; the dwarf variety is still often planted for bordering flowerbeds. The very hard and close-grained wood is in great demand for engraving and finer turnery work.

The box tree thrives in almost any well-drained soil, and best in a partially shaded position. Propagation is by cuttings from mature wood early in fall, kept during the winter in the cool greenhouse or under handlights in the open; in more temperate regions they may be inserted in a shady place in the open air; 4 to 6 inches is the best size for outdoor cuttings. Layers will also make good plants. The dwarf variety is usually propagated by division. In planting borders, it is essential to insert the divided plants deeply and as firmly as possible, and to give plenty of water in the beginning. Seeds are sown soon after maturity, but it requires a long time to raise plants of good size from them.

B. californica, Lk.--Simmpndsia callfornica.—B. Fortunei. Carr. -B. longlfolia.—B. Pfolunci, Hort.-B. japonica.—B. Hdrlandii, Hance. Branches pubescent: Lvs. narrow obovate. emarginate,¼ -l ¼in. long. China.—B. longlfdlia, Boiss. (B. Fortunei, Carr.). Lva. narrow-elliptic or lanceolate. 1-1¼ in. long Orient, China.— B. longlfdlia, Hort.-B. sempervirens var. angustlfolia.—B. Wallichiana. Baill. Branches pubescent: Lvs. linear-elliptic, 1-2½ in. long. Himalaya,.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


Buxus sempervirens
Buxus sinica foliage
Buxus henryi foliage
Buxus wallichiana foliage and seed capsules
Buxus sempervirens bark
Buxus sempervirens bark closeup

Selected species:

Europe, northwest Africa, Asia
Africa, Madagascar



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