Oregon boxwood is related to the more familiar oriental bittersweet, or staff vine (Celastrus orbiculatus), but it looks more like the common box (Buxus sempervirens) or some of the evergreen cotoneasters (Cotoneaster). It is a low, evergreen shrub with leathery leaves and tiny, attractive, brick-red flowers appearing in June.
Oregon boxwood, as the name suggests, is native to that state, but its range extends through the coniferous forests of the North-American West. In 1806, the explorer Meriwether Lewis discovered it in Idaho’s Rocky Mountains and brought it back east to amaze botanists. Exactly when the species was first brought to Mustila is not known, but it has grown successfully here for at least fifty years.