Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Boxwood, the wood of the Box, Buxus sempervirens, B. balearica, and B. Macowanii. Buxus is the type of the sub-order Buxineae of the order Euphorbiaceae. It consists of woody plants with opposite, entire, evergreen leaves, monoecious flowers in axillary glomerules, each flower having four sepals and either four stamens or a three-styled ovary. The fruit is dry, dehiscent, three-chambered and six-seeded. The common, or evergreen box (B. sempervirens) is a native of Japan, China, N. India, Persia, North Africa, and Europe south of lat. 52°. It is doubtfully indigenous at Boxhill in Surrey. The whole plant is bitter and poisonous. It may reach 30 feet in height and its stem 10 inches in diameter. The leaves are leathery, dark green, shining, elliptical and less than an inch long. A dwarf variety is used as an edging for garden-borders. B. balearica, native of the Mediterranean region, reaches 60 or 80 feet in height and has paler leaves three inches long. B. Macowanii, native of Cape Colony, has only recently been introduced into commerce. Boxwood from its hardness and closeness of grain is most valuable for walking-sticks, turnery, musical and mathematical instruments, and above all, for wood engraving. The best wood comes from Odessa, Constantinople, and Smyrna, in logs 4 feet long and 8 or 10 inches across, which are cut, across the grain into slices type-high. Hawthorn, American dogwood (Cornus florida), several species of ebony (Diospyros) and the West Indian box tree (Tecoma, pentaphylla) are among the chief substitutes proposed, owing to the scarcity of box, but none of them are altogether satisfactory. Box is the badge of the clan M'Intosh; the variegated variety, that of the M'Phersons.