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Japanese Garden Plants
This is where to find details on plants. We don't have a lot of images, but we'll be providing articles and details as we are able. If you have materials to contribute or gaps to fill in, please let us know.

Japanese Name:tsuge, hon-tsuge 
English Name:Box, Box Tree, Boxwood 
Latin Name:Buxus macrophylla, Buxus microphylla, Buxus sempervirens 
Native Habitat: 
Flower Color: 
Bloom Time: 
Last Updated:5/21/2000 
Details: Boxwood is found throughout the temperate zones of the world where its ability to withstand heavy pruning make it an ideal hedge and topiary specimen. The tree usually has a globular and well-behaved form with small, leathery leaves on slender stems that are rich green on top and yellow-green below. The tiny, lemon-yellow flowers appear in early spring and while visually inconspicuous, they are very fragrant and are popular with bees and wasps.

Box tends to grow quite slowly and can have some dieback in severe winters. In northern temperate zones, it should be planted in a more sheltered area. It is particulary sensitive to strong sun and dry winds, and should be well mulched in a dry climate. They transplant well and can also be propagated easily from cuttings.

The common box grows to 6-15 feet in height and is hardy in Zones 5-9 as long as it is protected from extremes. Its wood is excellent for carving and is used in craftwork all over the world. In Japan, it is often used to make combs, chopsticks and other small items. The little-leaf box (Buxus sempervirens var. insularis or Buxus microphylla) is native to Japan and grows 3-4 feet. Its foliage turns yellow-green in the winter. Kitamura and Ishizu list two other varieties: B. microphylla var. microphylla Oui (hime-tsuge or kusa-tsuge) and B. microphylla var. riparia Makino (ko-tsuge).

In gardens, the box tends to be used singly or in groups under larger trees, next to stones or in groupings with other elements.

For further reference:
Japanese Garden Society of Oregon. Oriental Gardening. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996, p. 60-63.

Kitamura Fumio and Ishizu Yurio. Garden Plants in Japan. Tokyo: Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai, 1963, p. 133.


©1996-2002, Robert Cheetham; ©2019 Japanese Garden Research Network, Inc.
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