Boxwood - valued for millennia

Even in ancient times, the wood of the boxwood, which can also grow as a tree, was highly valued all over the world. It is the hardest and heaviest of all European woods. What features it has in addition, and what it is used today, you will learn in detail in this post.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
densityapprox. 1.2 g / cm³, air-dry approx. 900 - 1.000 kg / m³
Compressive strengthapprox. 74 N / mm²
flexural strengthapprox. 115 N / mm²

Biodiversity and alternative names

Boxwood is world-wide and has thus produced a very high biodiversity. Some forms grow as shrubs, some as (rather small and crooked) trees.

Alternative names

Boxwood is internationally recognized with many alternative names, including:

  • Buis
  • Box or boxwood in English
  • Bus, Buxo or Bosso

The international DIN name for the boxwood is according to the botanical name BXSM.



The grain of the grain is usually straight, but can also be very irregular in pieces, the wood is generally very knotty. The vessels are very fine and uniform and just like the rays of wood practically not recognizable. The texture is fine, very homogeneous and simple.


The color of heartwood and sapwood is hardly different. Both have a yellowish-white, waxy-looking hue. Boxwood darkens only slightly in the light.


The weight and hardness of boxwood are higher than that of all other European woods, and are more similar to those of tropical wood species. In addition, there is a relatively good workability, despite often irregular grain and horny surface. Boxwood is easy to polish.

Shrinkage and drying

The drying is problematic, the drying must always be very slow and careful. There is a high tendency for tearing, throwing and deformation. In addition, it can come to splintering too fast drying. Boxwood is shrinking significantly more than any other native wood species


Boxwood is not very weather-resistant, and also resistant to fungal and insect infestation. It tends to discolour when moistened.


Today's applications are limited mainly to the arts and crafts (woodturning, carving and sculpture).

Traditional use

Boxwood has been widely used since antiquity, early on for weapons and machine parts, writing boards and in the construction of looms, as well as in the arts and crafts. In early industrialization, boxwood was the most important wood for heavily used machine parts, such as printing blocks or weaving boats.


Boxwood is present worldwide - in many different ways - and is also native to Europe. The deposits are, however, only small and scattered, so only very small quantities of boxwood are on the market.

Here you will find an overview of the most important types of wood worldwide.

Tips & Tricks

The wood dust produced when processing boxwood can severely irritate the respiratory tract and also cause severe allergic reactions.

Video Board: BBC Timewatch - Hadrian's Wall