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Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)


Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing up to 1 to 9 m (3 to 30 ft) tall. It is also known as the common box, European box, or boxwood plant. The common box has a trunk that averages up to 20 centimeters (8 in) in diameter . Arranged in opposite pairs along the stems, the leaves are green to yellow-green, oval, 1.5–3 cm long, and 0.5–1.3 cm broad. The hermaphrodite flowers are inconspicuous but highly scented, greenish-yellow, with no petals, and are insect pollinated; the fruit is a three-lobed capsule containing 3-6 seeds. Buxus sempervirens is native to western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia, from southern England south to northern Morocco, and east through the northern Mediterranean region to Turkey. The common box typically grows on soils derived from chalk, limestone, and usually in forests of larger trees, most commonly associated with European beech (Fagus sylvatica) forests, but also sometimes in open dry montane scrub, particularly in the Mediterranean region. Box plants remain a very popular ornamental plant in gardens, being particularly valued for topiary and hedges because of its small leaves, evergreen nature, tolerance of close shearing, and scented foliage. The scent is not to everyone's liking, with many people finding its odor to be foul. In the American South, it has sometimes been called "rich man's hedge," and was often used to anchor the landscape plantings on either side of the front door of a house. The scent, most pungent on warm summer days, is not found disagreeable by all, despite its having been likened to cat urine.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Buxales

            • Family: Buxaceae

              • Genus: Buxus