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Buxus sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens

Mature specimen
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Buxales
Family: Buxaceae
Genus: Buxus
Species: B. sempervirens
Binomial name
Buxus sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens (Common Box or European Box; also as Boxwood) is a flowering plant in the genus Buxus, 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.

It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 1-9 m tall, with a trunk up to 20 cm diameter, exceptionally to 10 m tall and 45 cm diameter (Tree Register of the British Isles). The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, green to yellow-green, oval, 15-30 mm long and 5-13 mm broad. The hermaphrodite flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, with no petals and are insect pollinated; the fruit is a three-lobed capsule containing 3-6 seeds.

The species typically grows on soils derived from chalk, limestone, usually as an understorey in forests of larger trees, most commonly associated with Fagus sylvatica forests, but also sometimes in open dry montane scrub, particularly in the Mediterranean region. Box Hill, Surrey is named after its notable box population, which comprises the largest area of native box woodland in England.

Cultivation and uses

  It is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens, being particularly valued for topiary and hedges because of its tolerance of close shearing, small leaves, and scented foliage. Several cultivars have been selected, including some with variegated foliage.

The wood ("boxwood") is very hard and heavy, used for engraving, marquetry, woodturning, and mallet heads. The noted English engraver Thomas Bewick pioneered the use of boxwood blocks for engraving.

The species is locally naturalised in parts of North America.[2]


  • Flora Europaea: Buxus sempervirens
  • Buxus sempervirens (TSN 501097). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed on September 25 2006.
  • Plants for a Future: Buxus sempervirens
  • British Trees: Buxus sempervirens
  • Thomas Bewick's use of boxwood
  1. ^ Plan of Garden and Grounds near Gunston Hall. Gunston Hall Drawings. Historic American Buildings Survey (part of the US National Park Service). Retrieved on 2007-03-14.
  2. ^ PLANTS Profile. Retrieved on 2007-03-14.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Buxus_sempervirens". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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