Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Buxus sempervirens L., B. macowani Oliv. (Buchsbaum, box, boj)

Nomenclature etc. BUXACEAE. Trade and local names: B. sempervirens: Buchsbaum, Türkischer Buchsbaum, Echtes Buchsholz (DE), simsir (TR), bosso (IT), boj (ES), European boxwood, true boxwood (GB), buis (FR), Turks palmhout (NL); B. macowani: Cape boxwood, East London boxwood (ZA, GB). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree, or shrub. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean, Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East, temperate Asia, and India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or southern Africa (B. macowani).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Growth ring boundaries demarcated by yellowish-brown latewood. Heartwood basically yellow to white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.79–0.92–0.97 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, exclusively solitary. Average tangential vessel diameter 20–30–35 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 150–250. Perforation plates scalariform, with 5–10–18 bars. Intervessel pits opposite or alternate, average diameter (vertical) 3–4 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits, of uniform size or type, of the same type in adjacent elements. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels not observed.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, distinctly bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand (1–)2–4–8.

Rays. Rays 8–13 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2 cells wide. Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular) (only few rays are homocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls distinct. Disjunctive endwalls restricted to upright ray cells.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Wood surface. Buxus sempervirens. • Transverse section. Buxus sempervirens. • Tangential section. Buxus sempervirens. Buxus microphylla. • Radial section. Buxus microphylla. Inset: Scalariform perforation plates, blow-up.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.