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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 10 | Buxaceae

1. BUXUS Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 983. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 423. 1754.

Box, boxwood [Latin buxus; from Greek pyxos (or puxos), name for box tree, of uncertain origin but supposedly from pyknos, dense, solid, alluding to excellent wood]

Shrubs [trees], not clonal. Leaves opposite or subopposite; blade margins entire, surfaces shiny. Inflorescences axillary and terminal, spikes or capitate clusters [racemes]. Staminate flowers basal; tepals 4; pistillode present. Pistillate flowers 1 per inflorescence, apical; tepals 5 or 6; ovary 2- or 3-carpellate; locules 1 per carpel; stigma decurrent; interstylar nectaries or nectariferous tissue present; ovules 2 per locule. Fruits capsules, broadly oblong [globose or ovoid], loculicidally dehiscent, splitting into 2 or 3 valves, forcibly ejecting seeds at maturity, usually glabrous; style persistent. Seeds 2 per locule, black, oblong; with rudimentary aril. x = 14.

Species ca. 70 (1 in the flora): introduced; Mexico, West Indies, Central America, n South America, Europe, Asia, Africa.

The structures subtending the pistillate flowers are ambiguous; they may be tepals or bracts. The taxonomy and nomenclature of Buxus are unsettled. Species and cultivars other than B. sempervirens are likely to persist from cultivation.

Lower Taxon


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