Paxistima myrsinites

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Paxistima myrsinites
Paxistima myrsinites 38584.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Celastrales
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Paxistima
Species: P. myrsinites
Binomial name
Paxistima myrsinites
(Pursh) Raf.

Paxistima myrsinites (Oregon boxleaf, Oregon boxwood, mountain lover, box, or hedge, false box, myrtle box leaf; syn. Pachistima myrsinites)[1] is a species of shrub in the bittersweet family. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to northern Mexico to the Rocky Mountains, where it grows in forests, often in the understory.


P. myrsinites is a low prostrate or spreading evergreen shrub growing to a meter in maximum height. The stems have many four-angled branches lined with oppositely arranged oval leaves roughly 1 to 3 centimeters long. The leaves are thick, leathery, toothed, and pointed or round-tipped. They are light green when new and shiny dark green when mature. Blossoming occurs from June to August.[1] The inflorescences occur in the leaf axils, where there appears a single flower or cluster of up to three. The small flat flower has four dark red oval petals about a millimeter long. The fruit is an oblong capsule under a centimeter long containing usually one seed in each of its two valves. The seed is dark and shiny and partly covered in a white aril. The shrub reproduces via seed, but it can also be propagated with cuttings.[2]


The wild shrub is a good food source for wild animals such as elk, moose, which browse its evergreen leaves in the winter,[1] and grouse.[2]


P. myrsinites has been utilized by Native American groups for various medicinal and ceremonial uses.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Stewart, Charles (1994). Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades. Sequim, Washington: Nature Education Enterprises. p. 118. ISBN 0-9621104-2-6. 
  2. ^ a b USFS Fire Ecology
  3. ^ Ethnobotany

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