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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Paxistima myrsinites (Oregon boxleaf)
Glase, Terry

Paxistima myrsinites

Paxistima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf.

Oregon Boxleaf, Myrtle Boxwood, Mountain Lover

Celastraceae (Bittersweet Family)

Synonym(s): Pachystima myrsinites


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Oregon boxleaf is a shiny, low-statured shrub, 8 in.- 2 ft. high, with small, glossy, dark-green leaves arrayed in pairs along ascending branches. The tiny, maroon flowers, appearing in the spring to the South and in summer to the North, are borne in axillary clusters. They are not conspicuous, but the evergreen leaves are attractive both in summer and winter.

Mountain Lover is a member of the staff tree or bittersweet family (family Celastraceae), which includes shrubs, woody vines, and mostly small trees. Widespread, about 700 species; 7 native tree species and several shrub species in North America.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems prostrate to spreading, up to about 40 inches long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , OR , TX , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Rockies from Alt. to NM, w. to B.C. & CA
Native Habitat: Open woods; rocky glades; ridge tops

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Well-drained, rich soils.


Description: Oregon box is so easily increased by cuttings that seeds are rarely necessary to try. Naturally layered and rooted sections can be carefully divided from the parent.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Paxistima myrsinites in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Paxistima myrsinites in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Paxistima myrsinites


Record Modified: 2023-01-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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