SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites


Paxistima myrsinites: INTRODUCTORY

INTRODUCTORY

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Snyder, S. A. 1991. Paxistima myrsinites. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].



ABBREVIATION:
PAXMYR

SYNONYMS:
Pachistima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf. [24]
Pachystima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf.  [60] (both misapplied)

NRCS PLANT CODE [51]:
PAMY

COMMON NAMES:
Oregon boxwood
paxistima
pachistima
myrtle boxwood
boxwood
mountain-lover
Montana-box
mountain-box
myrtle-bush
myrtle-boxleaf
false-box
myrtle pachistima

TAXONOMY:
The currently accepted scientific name of Oregon boxwood is Paxistima myrsinites (Pursh) Raf. (Celastraceae) [58,59]. The above synonyms are misapplied to Oregon boxwood. Pachystima myrsinites is an exotic ornamental [51].

LIFE FORM:
Shrub

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
No special status

OTHER STATUS:
No entry


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Oregon boxwood occurs from British Columbia south into California and Mexico and east through the Rocky Mountains [24,52].

ECOSYSTEMS [18]:
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods

STATES:
AR   AZ   CA   CO   ID   MT   NM   OR   TX   UT
WA   WY   AB   BC   MEXICO

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [5]:
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

KUCHLER [30] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir - hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce - fir forest
K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest
K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland

SAF COVER TYPES [17]:
205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
207 Red fir
208 Whitebark pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
212 Western larch
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
216 Blue spruce
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
224 Western hemlock
227 Western redcedar - western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock
231 Port-Orford-cedar
256 California mixed subalpine

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Oregon boxwood is a dominant shrub in many forested and shrubland community types, habitat types, and plant associations throughout western North America. Some associates of Oregon boxwood include Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), white fir (A. concolor), red fir (A. magnifica), hemlock (Tsuga spp.), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), golden chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), Port-Orford-cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum), mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis), huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), mallow ninebark (Physocarpos malvaceus), lupine (Lupinus spp.), mountain sweetroot (Osmorhiza chilensis), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), columbine (Aquilegia spp.) groundsel (Senecio spp.), meadowrue (Thalictrum spp.), and pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) [2,13,22,25,26,34,36,39].

Publications listing Oregon boxwood as an indicator are listed below.

 Area  Classification  Reference
CO: White River-Arapaho NF  forest and shrubland habitat types Hess and Wasser 1982
ID: Caribou, Targhee NF forest community types Mueggler and Campbell 1982
BC: Similkameen Valley  forest community types McLean 1970
northern UT forest habitat type Mauk and Henderson 1984 
OR: Wenema NF   forest plant association Hopkins 1979b
CO: Gunnison, Uncompahgre NF forest habitat type Komarkova 1986
CO: White River NF  forest habitat type Hoffman and Alexander 1983
CO: Routt NF  forest habitat type Hoffman and Alexander 1980
WA: Okanogan NF  forest plant association Williams and Lillybridge 1983
eastern WA, northern ID  forest habitat types Daubenmire and Daubenmire
1968

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Oregon boxwood is considered important forage for deer, elk, and moose [9,13,19,43,56]. Mountain sheep and grouse also browse Oregon boxwood [52]. Livestock occasionally eat Oregon boxwood, but it is not considered an important forage species [52,56].

PALATABILITY:
The degree of use shown by livestock for Oregon boxwood has been rated as follows [14]:

           UT        CO         MT
Cattle    poor      poor       poor
Sheep     fair      poor       poor
Horse     poor      poor       poor

NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
Stark [46] has reported on the nutrient content of Oregon boxwood following harvest and burn treatments in western Montana. The nutritional value of Oregon boxwood has been rated as follows [14]:

                     UT      WY        MT
Elk                 fair    ---        poor         
Mule deer           fair    poor       ---         
White-tailed deer   ---     fair       ---         
Antelope            poor    ---        ---         
Upland game bird    poor    poor       ---         
Waterfowl           poor    ---        ---
Nongame bird        poor    poor       ---
Small mammal        poor    ---        ---

COVER VALUE:
The degree to which Oregon boxwood provides environmental protection during one or more seasons for wildlife species has been rated as follows [14]:

                     MT        UT       WY
Pronghorn           ---       poor     ---
Elk                 poor      poor     ---
Mule deer           poor      poor     ---
White-tailed deer   ---       ---      poor
Small mammals       poor      fair     ---
Nongame birds       poor      fair     ---
Upland game birds   poor      fair     ---
Waterfowl           ---       poor     ---

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Oregon boxwood root cuttings or 2-0 stock can be used to revegetate disturbed sites [38].

OTHER USES AND VALUES:
Oregon boxwood is easily shaped and adapts well to both sunny and shady spots, making it ideal for an ornamental and ground cover [23,29,52].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Oregon boxwood is not easily controlled with herbicides, possibly because of its leathery, evergreen leaves [3,21,37].

Oregon boxwood appears to increase in logged areas compared to uncut areas in grand fir (Abies grandis) types of western Montana [1]. In general, Oregon boxwood seems to increase following logging; however, it may not really benefit from management treatments because undisturbed shrubs may have the same growth rate as disturbed shrubs [32]. In logged grand fir/Oregon boxwood sites of northern Idaho, Oregon boxwood decreased for the first 7 years, then increased after 25 years to higher cover values than in unlogged areas [55].


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Oregon boxwood is a native, cool-season, evergreen shrub, with maroon flowers [24]. It is low growing, reaching heights of 1 to 3 feet (0.3-1 m), sometimes spreading, and densely branched. Its leaves are oblong and glabrous. Its fruit is a one- to two-seeded capsule [40,52].

RAUNKIAER [44] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Oregon boxwood stems can layer and root, and the shrub can be propagated easily through stem cuttings [29]. Seeds are dispersed by gravity, with no evidence to suggest they are dispersed by any other means [42].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Oregon boxwood grows on dry to moist sites in shaded mountain areas as high as subalpine habitats, but can be found at sea level in California [29,31]. It can grow in frost pockets in steep ravines or in open woods, ridgetops, and glades [12,22,28,29]. Oregon boxwood can occur on well-drained, shallow, gravelly soils, in clay and silt loams, and cobbly clay [22]. In British Columbia Oregon boxwood occurs on Podzols and Regosols [36].

Elevational ranges have been listed for some western states and provinces [2,14,36,39,52]:

    from 5,000 to 10,500 feet (1,524-3,200 m) in Utah
    from 6,600 to 11,000 feet (2,012-3,353 m) in Colorado
    from 6,700 to  9,500 feet (2,042-2,896 m) in Wyoming
    from 3,500 to  7,600 feet (1,067-2,317 m) in Montana
    from 6,900 to  8,200 feet (2,103-2,499 m) in Idaho
    from 6,000 to 10,000 feet (1,829-3,048 m) in Arizona/New Mexico
    from 4,020 to  5,160 feet (1,279-1,600 m) in California/Oregon
    from 3,950 to  4,950 feet (1,200-1,500 m) in British Columbia

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Oregon boxwood is an indicator species in several western habitat types and plant communities. It is a climax shrub and can tolerate both sun and shade [23], but it usually indicates dry to moist, cool sites and well-drained soils [19]. Quaking aspen/Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)-Oregon boxwood community types in Idaho appear to be stable but may be slowly successional to quaking aspen-Douglas-fir/ Saskatoon serviceberry community types which might be in the Oregon boxwood phase of the Douglas-fir/pinegrass habitat type or the subalpine/pinegrass habitat type [39].

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
The following months have been noted for budding, flowering, and fruiting of Oregon boxwood.

State     Buds        Flowers          Fruits       Source

CA                    May-July                       [40]
AZ, MX                April-June       June-Sept     [52]
OR, WA                April-June                     [19]
ID, MT   March-May    March-June       July-Sept     [15,42]
UT                    April-July                     [14]
CO                    May-July                       [14]
WY                    June-August                    [14]


FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Following fire, Oregon boxwood can sprout from buds on the taproot or from the root crown [10,35,42]. Some seedling establishment via short-term viablity seed stored on-site may also occur [49].

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [33]:
Small shrub, adventitious bud/root crown


FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Paxistima myrsinites

IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Oregon boxwood can survive low- to moderate-severity fires that do not consume the duff or raise the soil temperature too high [10]. It can, however, be killed by severe fires [9].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
No entry

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Oregon boxwood usually sprouts from its root crown or from buds on its taproot following low- to moderate-severity fires [10,42].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
The development of Oregon boxwood cover following wildfire and clearcutting/ broadcast burning has been recorded for western larch (Larix occidentalis) and Douglas-fir forests in Montana [47]. Oregon boxwood appears to have a varied response to both wildfire and broadcast burning, depending on site [8,16,47]. Stickney tracked first decade postfire succession following a severe fire in western hemlock/ Oregon boxwood habitat type. Oregon boxwood exhibited a steady-state frequency pattern throughout the decade, with little expansion or reduction in distribution within the study site [48,49]. Some have classified Oregon boxwood as "neutral" in its resistance to fire, meaning that it has less than a 12.5 percent frequency increase or decrease when compared to average frequencies of those shrubs in unburned areas [53].

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Nalley [41] developed models for predicting fuel loading in western redcedar/Oregon boxwood types in northern Idaho. Brown [6] lists bulk densities of some Montana and Idaho habitat types (in which Oregon boxwood is an indicator) for determining fuel depth. Fuel loadings and fire ratings for quaking aspen/Oregon boxwood community types have also been listed [7].


Paxistima myrsinites: References


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7. Brown, James K.; DeByle, Norbert V. 1989. Effects of prescribed fire on biomass and plant succession in western aspen. Res. Pap. INT-412. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 16 p. [9286]

8. Brown, James K.; Simmerman, Dennis G. 1986. Appraising fuels and flammability in western aspen: a prescribed fire guide. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-205. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 48 p. [544]

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11. Crouch, Glenn L. 1985. Effects of clearcutting a subalpine forest in central Colorado on wildlife habitat. Res. Pap. RM-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [8225]

12. Daubenmire, Rexford F.; Daubenmire, Jean B. 1968. Forest vegetation of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Technical Bulletin 60. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 104 p. [749]

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