Shrubs or small trees, 0.15-6 m tall, evergreen, monoecious. Young branches tetragonous. Leaves opposite, shortly petiolate, leathery or thinly leathery, often shining, margin entire, venation pinnate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, racemose, spicate, or converted into capitate cluster, bracteate; female flower solitary, apical, male flowers several, basal. Flowers small, unisexual. Male flowers: tepals 4; stamens 4; central pistillode present. Female flowers: tepals 5 or 6; carpels 3; ovary 3-locular; styles 3, free; stigma often decurrent; interstylar nectaries or nectariferous tissue present; ovules 2 per locule, pendent, anatropous, bitegmic, crassinucellar; micropyle formed by inner integument, rudimentary aril. Fruit a dry capsule, globose or ovoid, usually glabrous, loculicidal, splitting into 3 valves; styles persistent. Seeds 2 per locule, oblong; testa black, shining; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons oblong.
Monoecious shrubs or small trees. Leaves opposite, entire, coriaceous. In- florescences axillary, racemose, congested, bracteate, usually with a single terminal female flower and several to many lateral male flowers. Flowers apetalous; male flowers with 4 sepals, the stamens 4-6, opposite the sepals, the filaments exserted, the anthers dorsifixed near the base; female flowers with 4-6 sepals, the ovary 3-locular with 3 distinct styles and 2 ovules per locule. Fruit a capsule, 3-parted, apically 3-horned from the persistent styles; seeds oblong, black.
Flowers in short compact spikes, often consisting of a terminal female flower subtended by bracts in the axils of which are 2–4 male flowers, or each inflorescence unisexual.
Male flowers with 4 perianth segments, 2 outer and 2 inner ones, equal or unequal; stamens 4–6(10), usually opposite a perianth segment or more stamens at each perianth segment; anthers sessile, subsessile or on clearly distinguishable filaments, dorsifixed near the base, opening by longitudinal slits; rudimentary ovary truncate or 3-lobed at apex or absent.
Small, usually much branched trees and shrubs; glabrous throughout.
Leaves opposite, entire, coriaceous.
Seeds usually 3-ridged or ovoid-oblong, with black, shiny testa.
Fruit capsular, dehiscing loculicidally, valves each with 2 apical, horn-like projections, representing remains of the styles; endocarp hard, separating from exocarp at maturity.
Buxus includes about 70 species, mostly in the West Indies (sect. Tricera, primarily in Cuba and Jamaica, 33 species) and Eurasia (sect. Buxus); 10 species occur in Africa, (sect. Buxella and Notobuxus). Four species occur in Mexico, adjacent Guatemala, and Belize.