Proper thinned, the boxwood canopy has small voids
that permit air and sunlight to enter the shrub's interior. [How to thin a
The Boxwood Handbook was written by ARS
horticulturalist Lynn Batdorf and published by the
Images courtesy U.S. National Arboretum.
Arboretum Scientist Brings Back Boxwood From
Far-Flung Places By
May 18, 2006
Batdorf has searched far and wide for boxwood in efforts to diversify the
collection he curates at the
National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
Batdorf, a horticulturalist, has been curator of the arboretum's
Boxwood Collection since 1977, carefully tending about 150 different
species and cultivars in one of the world's most complete boxwood collections.
The arboretum is operated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the chief scientific research agency
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Batdorf, who recently discussed his boxwood collection efforts at the
Boxwood Society Meeting and Symposium in Memphis, Tenn., in 2002 began
exploring for boxwood in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that is home to
many rare species. Foreigners have only recently been allowed to visit that
country for plant exploration. During an expedition to the Chirkan Nature
Reserve, in the towns of Lankaran and Astara, Batdorf discovered Buxus
colchica, a very large (30 feet tall) and ancient (over 250 years old)
In January 2006, Batdorf registered a new Korean semidrawf boxwood
(Buxus sinica var. insularis), dubbed Wee Willie, in the
Boxwood Bulletin, a quarterly journal of the
American Boxwood Society (ABS).
This boxwood has straight, vertical stems with dense, dark-green leaves and
excellent cold hardiness.
Other valuable boxwood in the arboretum's collection includes Vardar
Valley (Buxus sempervirens) from Macedonia, a variety known for its
fragrant flowers, shallow roots, and resistance to leaf miners and mites.
Another notable variety is Curly Locks (Buxus microphylia), a
medium-sized plant with small, curly leaves.
In addition to writing and illustrating the comprehensive Boxwood: An
Illustrated Encyclopedia, Batdorf recently compiled and released his
latest findings in Boxwood Handbook: A
Practical Guide (3d. edition). Both are available through the