E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Paxistima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf.
falsebox (Description; Oregon boxleaf)
Celastraceae (Bittersweet family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #72905)

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Distribution of Paxistima myrsinites
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Species Information

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Evergreen shrub; stems reddish-brown, 4-ridged or smooth, branches erect or prostrate, 0.2-1.0 m tall.
Opposite, oblong-lanceolate, lanceolate or oblanceolate, evergreen, 1-3 cm long, leathery, glossy, toothed, margins slightly rolled under.
Inflorescence of solitary or numerous, fragrant flowers in axillary leaf clusters all along the branches; petals 4, maroon, 3-4 mm wide; sepals 4.
Capsules egg-shaped, 3-4 mm long 1-2 seeded; seeds dark brown, covered by a thin, lacerate, white membrane.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry slopes and forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in BC south of 56degreeN; E to SW AB and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Paxistima myrsinites

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 20 1121 2155
Slope Gradient (%) 0 30 240
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 191 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(2), CDF(19), CWH(235), ESSF(1459), ICH(3666), IDF(1123), MH(15), MS(909), PP(7), SBPS(26), SBS(464), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American evergreen shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality. Occurs predominantly in continental boreal and cool temperate climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-poor soils. Edaphically comparable to Gaultheria shallon. Scattered to plentiful in coniferous forests on water-shedding sites in the coast-interior ecotone, sporadic in maritime climates. Persists on cutover sites; on nutrient-rich sites inhabits decaying wood. Usually associated with Hylacamium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi. An oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pachistima myrsinites
Pachystima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf. [orthographic variant]
Pachystima myrsinites

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References