/boks"wood'/, n.
1. the hard, fine-grained, compact wood of the box shrub or tree, used for wood-engravers' blocks, musical instruments, etc.
2. the tree or shrub itself. Cf. box3.
[1645-55; BOX3 + WOOD1]

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 hard, heavy, fine-grained wood, usually white or light yellow, that is obtained from the box (Buxus sempervirens) and other small trees of the genus Buxus; about 30 species of shrubby evergreen plants are in the family Buxaceae. Boxwood also refers to many other woods with a similar density and grain, such as Venezuelan boxwood, or zapatero (Gossypiospermum praecox), a South American tree of the family Flacourtiaceae; West Indian boxwood, a North American lumber trade name for wood from two tropical American trees, Phyllostylon brasiliensis of the family Ulmaceae and Tabebuia pentaphylla of the family Bignoniaceae; and a number of woods from Australian trees in the genera Eucalyptus and Tristania (family Myrtaceae), Alyxia (family Apocynaceae), and Murraya (family Rutaceae).

      Plants of the genus Buxus (box) have small, smooth-edged, evergreen leaves and small, petalless flowers. Both male and female flowers are borne on the same plant. The female flowers usually are located above the male flowers and produce three-horned, capsulelike fruits. The common box (B. sempervirens), native to the Mediterranean area, has been used for centuries as a source of wood for engravings, inlays, musical instruments, and other articles that require a smooth-textured wood that can be highly polished. The tree is grown in many parts of the world as a border, hedge, or topiary (ornamentally shaped) plant because of its compact form and slow growth; it seldom exceeds 6 m (20 feet) in height. A dwarf form, B. sempervirens variety suffruticosa, often is used to edge walks in formal gardens. The Japanese boxwood (B. microphylla) and its varieties provide a wide range of ornamental shrubs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • boxwood — noun Date: 1652 1. the close grained heavy hard tough wood of the box (genus Buxus); also a wood of similar properties 2. a tree producing boxwood …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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