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Boxwood is a representative of ancient plants. It appeared about 30 million years ago. During this time, the shrub practically did not undergo evolutionary changes. The second name of the species is Bux from the Latin word "buxus", which means "dense". They also call the plant shamshit, bukshan, gevan, palm, green tree.
Boxwood - what kind of plant is it
Boxwood is an evergreen tree or shrub. Belongs to the Boxwood family. The plant is used in ornamental gardening, as it tolerates haircuts. The compact forms of the plant are well suited for creating whimsical figures, sculptures, borders, hedges. Boxwood can be grown not only in the garden, but also in flowerpots in the form of bonsai.
The tree is distinguished by a dense crown, shiny leaves and frost resistance. It grows in the undergrowth of deciduous and mixed forests, on rocky embankments, in thickets of bushes, in shady areas. For an evergreen culture, 0.01 percent of illumination is sufficient. Boxwood develops well on fertile, loose soils, then the growth of the shrub gives a significant. Depleted soils are also good for the plant. Shoots will be short, but densely leafy.
It is worth noting that in ancient times boxwood was compared to amber in terms of strength. The trunks of mature trees sink in the water due to their large mass. The maximum recorded life span of a shrub is 500 years.
Important! In folk medicine, bark, boxwood leaves are used as a laxative and diaphoretic.
What does boxwood look like?
In the natural environment, there are mainly trees up to 15 m in height. The branches are straight, protruding, tetrahedral, roughly leafy. The nodes are formed next to each other. Characteristics of boxwood leaves.
- They are located opposite.
- The surface is leathery, matte or shiny.
- The color is dark green, blue, light green closer to yellow.
- The foliage is short-peaked, round or oblong in shape.
- A groove runs along the central vein.
- Solid edges.
Flowers are small, unisexual. Stamens are located in capitate inflorescences, pistillate - solitary. The flowers attract little attention. The color of the petals is green. They are formed in the axils of young branches. Inflorescences are collected in a panicle.
The fruit is a small, round box. After ripening, the valves open. Inside are black seeds. Fruiting occurs in October.
Important! With age, cracks appear on the bark of an evergreen shrub.
Where does boxwood grow
Boxwood is a coniferous plant, thermophilic and shade-tolerant, it grows everywhere. However, it prefers slightly acidic, limestone soils. There are 3 areas of plant growth in nature:
- Euro-Asian - the territory of the spread of coniferous culture begins from the British Isles, passes through central Europe, Asia, the Caucasus, China and reaches the borders of Japan and Sumatra.
- African - a shrub is found in the forests and forest-steppes of Equatorial Africa, in Madagascar.
- Central American - the area of growth of the plant captures the tropics and subtropics of Mexico, Cuba.
It is believed that American varieties are the largest and the tallest. On average, the size of a tree in the American continent reaches 20 m in height.
In the Russian Federation, evergreen shrubs can be found on the Black Sea coast, in the gorges of the Caucasus mountains. On the second tier, a rare species grows - the Colchis boxwood.
In the Republic of Adygea, on the territory of the Kurdzhip forestry enterprise, in the middle reaches of the Tsitsa River, there is a unique boxwood forest. The area of these lands is 200 hectares. The site has the status of a reserve and is guarded by a patrol. Also known are boxwood groves in the city of Sochi and in Abkhazia. The natural area of boxwood plantings is shrinking due to felling. As of August 2017, only 5.5 hectares of boxwood forests remain in Russia.
Important! Boxwood varieties Colchis are included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.
How fast boxwood grows
Under favorable conditions, boxwood grows up to 12 m in height. At the same time, the annual growth is only 5-6 cm. Young shoots are covered with a thin, olive-colored skin, which over time becomes woody and becomes brown. Slow growth and decorative crown make the plant an irreplaceable element of landscape design.
How boxwood blooms
An evergreen shrub begins to bloom at the age of 15-20 years and not earlier. The flowering time of boxwood falls in mid-June. However, in regions with a temperate climate, this process may be completely absent. Often the plant suffers from strong, drying winds in winter and scorching spring sun. As a result, the shrub takes a long time to recover, not having the strength to form buds.
Important! Boxwood is not famous for its beautiful flowers, it is valuable for its lush crown.
What does boxwood smell like?
Neither the photo nor the description can convey the smell emanating from the boxwood tree or shrub. It has an intense, pungent aroma that is unpleasant to most people. In the fresh air, the smell is practically not felt. Indoors, the plant spreads a kind of incense. Bush owners note that they smell like cat urine.
Boxwood is poisonous or not
In the process of caring for boxwood, you should be careful, use personal protective equipment. The evergreen shrub is poisonous. The maximum concentration of harmful substances is concentrated in the leaves. The composition contains 70 flavonoids, there are also coumarins, tannins. The green mass and bark contain 3% alkaloids. Among the most dangerous substances is cyclobuxin D. After contact with the plant, wash your hands and change clothes. Restrict the access of children and animals.
Attention! For dogs, the lethal dose of cyclobuxin D is 0.1 mg per kg of body weight when ingested.
Types and varieties of boxwood
There are about 300 varieties of evergreens in nature. However, only a few are suitable for decorative purposes. Below are the types of boxwood with a photo and exact names.
The growing area is the territory of the Caucasus and the Mediterranean. Grows well in undergrowth of mixed forests or deciduous plantings. The plant is distinguished by its thermophilic disposition, it does not tolerate cold winters. Basically it is a tree up to 15 m in height. Less commonly found in the form of a bush.
Use this species to form landscape design or for horticultural purposes. If the tree is not cut and the crown is formed, then the vertical size will be 3-3.5 m.
The leaves of an evergreen culture are elongated, size 1.5-3 cm in length. The surface is shiny, smooth, deep green. There are several varieties of boxwood evergreen.
The shrub is characterized by slow growth. Vertical shoots grow up to 1 m. They are covered with monophonic, oblong leaves 2 cm in size. It is used for curbs and hedges.
It is a short shrub with a slow growth rate. Leaves are leathery, blue-green. Suitable for creating carpet ornaments with a height of 20 cm. Blauer Heinz is a relatively new subspecies, differs from the previous variety in greater frost resistance, stiffness of the stems, and compactness.
Plants have a dense, spherical crown. Straight stems are densely leafy, grow up to 1 m in height. The leaves have a variegated color. A white border runs along the edge of the sheet plate. The culture is resistant to dry periods.
Important! The description indicates that the boxwood shrub is a melliferous plant, but honey cannot be eaten because of its toxicity.
Evergreen culture has high frost resistance. It can withstand frost down to - 30 ° С. However, the plant is sensitive to the spring sun. The foliage is small, 1-2 cm. The height of the shrub itself does not exceed 1.5 m. It belongs to the Japanese or Korean descendants of the boxwood. The plant is valued for decorativeness and compactness of the crown. The most popular varieties:
- Winter Jam is a fast growing variety with a dense crown. Easily tolerates pruning. It is used to create topiary forms.
- Faulkner - This culture is growing slowly. In this regard, the bush is given the shape of a ball.
The homeland of the Balearic variety is Spain, Portugal, the Atlas Mountains in Mocha, the Balearic Islands. They have a large leaf plate size: width - 3 cm, length - 4 cm. The shrub is characterized by rapid growth. Boxwood is thermophilic, does not tolerate cold weather. Needs a constantly moist soil.
The plant is found in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus, Asia Minor. The height of this species is 15-20 m in height. The diameter of the trunk at the base is 30 cm. The variety is resistant to frost, the annual growth is 5 cm. The foliage is small, fleshy.
The meaning and application of boxwood
An evergreen plant that has long been used for landscaping garden plots. In regions with a warm climate, shrubs are grown as curbs, hedges, lawn decor, and bushes are interestingly formed. They also grow it at home. The best option would be a bonsai tree.
Boxwood is a nuclear-free tree species. In a fresh cut, there is no difference in shade between mature wood and sapwood. The dried wood has a uniform matt color. The color is light yellow at first, but darkens over time. The core rays are invisible in the cut. There is no smell.
When describing an evergreen shrub, it is worth noting the high qualities of boxwood. The wood is hard, homogeneous, heavy. They use natural material for the production:
- musical instruments;
- chess pieces;
- machine parts;
- spools and weaving shuttles;
- elements of surgical and optical instruments;
- small dishes.
Cross-cut wood is used in woodcuts. It is believed that boxwood is an ideal material for wood engraving. Offers for the sale of finished boxwood timber are rare because of the high cost.
In the medical field, boxwood was in demand in ancient times. Then drugs were prepared from it against malaria, chronic fevers, cough, and gastrointestinal diseases. Now, due to toxicity, the evergreen plant is rarely used in the production of medicines, since it is difficult to determine the required amount of toxic components. Overdose leads to vomiting, seizures and even death.
Boxwood is an ornamental plant that is resistant to adverse weather conditions. Young, recently rooted plants require special attention. Blooms expressionlessly. The dense crown of the bush attracts attention. Landscape designers appreciate the compact form and discreet look of the evergreen shrub. Boxwood is a classic plant for topiary art.