Virginia Tech Dendrology

false box Celastraceae Paxistima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf. Listen to the Latin symbol: PAMY
Leaf: Opposite, simple, evergreen, elliptical to obovate, leathery, very small (1/2 to 1 1/2 inch long), shallowly toothed on upper half or margin entire, shiny dark green above and dull light green below, glabrous, petioles short.
Flower: Species is monoecious; small, red to maroon with 4 petals, borne in the leaf axils, late spring to mid-summer.
Fruit: A 1/4 inch capsule, 2-valved, splitting when dry, one to 2 months after flowering.
Twig: Slender, green to red-brown, 4-angled.
Bark: Smooth, lenticellate and reddish brown.
Form: A densely branched shrub, to 4 feet tall, but often only one foot tall, easily missed in the forest.
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Paxistima myrsinites is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting false box.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson