Buxus microphylla 'Compacta'
Common name: 
Kingsville Dwarf
BUK-sus mi-kro-FIL-a
Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf'
Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville'
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf, evergreen, dwarf shrub, very slow growing, about 1.3-1.9 cm (0.5-.0.75 inches) per year. It has small leaves and dense foliage and forms a sphere-like bun, possibly reaching a height of 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) in 10 years.  Frequently used in bonsai. 
  • Filtered to full sun
  • Hardy to USDA  Zone 7
  • Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf' vs. 'Compacta'

                  In 1912 a new boxwood clone was selected by William Appleby, a propagator for Henry Hohman, owner of the Kingsville Nurseries in Maryland.  The clone was named Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’ and was introduced to nursery trade in 1940.  The clone’s dwarf habit, insect and disease resistance made it one of the most popular boxwood in the nursery industry and the general public.  To this day it is one of the top selling boxwoods.  Yet, questions remain regarding the appropriate name of this clone.  There is continuing nomenclatural confusion between the names Buxus microphylla 'Compacta' and Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf' which arose during the registration of the clone.

                   On March 1, 1948, the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) received a completed registration application from Henry Hohman for Buxus microphylla 'Compacta'.  He listed the “English or Common Name” as Kingsville Dwarf boxwood.  Two days later, on March 3, 1948, J. Frank Schmidt, Jr., a distinguished Oregon nurseryman, replied for the AAN noting that the, "SPN denies use of 'compacta' for this clone." SPN is an acronym Stabilized Plant Names of the 1ST A (International Seed Testing Association) Nomenclature Committee.

                   It is likely Hohman's submission was slightly confused by the poor options on the AAN registration card itself. It appears to be submitted as, "Buxus microphylla compacta, Kingsville Dwarf Boxwood." without clearly indicating which of the names he preferred. The AAN registrar then checked and determined that 'Compacta' was not allowed leaving 'Kingsville Dwarf' as an acceptable alternative.

                   An AAN Convention was held in Washington D.C. on, July 18-21, 1949, the Proceeding of the convention contain the Woody Plant Register List #1, which lists Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf' as being properly accepted for registration and a citation notes the AAN Registration of 1948 deletes Buxus microphylla 'Compacta'.

                   In the January 1965,4(3):35-41, issue of The Boxwood Bulletin, the American Boxwood Society (ABS) published its first, "Registration Lists of Cultivar names In Buxus L." by Dr. Burdette L. Wagenknecht. In it Buxus microphylla 'Compacta' is recognized as being registered by Henry Hohman on March I, 1948.  Wagenknecht did not mention the registration of March 3, 1948 and overlooked the AAN response denying that registration, he also probably knew that the AAN was not a statutory registration authority as per The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants.  Furthermore, Wagenknecht cited the popular article by the well know plantsman, Donald Wyman, who in a 1963 issue of American Nurseryman described the boxwood as Buxus microphylla 'Compacta'.  Thus in Wagenknecht‘s mind as establishing this name as the earliest name of this cultivar.  An Article of The Code states that in a name dispute, "The accepted name is the earliest established one that must be adopted for a cultivar”,

                   “Finally, this history has brought together all the decisions and highlighting the systematic conflicts in the Code providing the most thorough examination of the nomenclature of this clone to date. Therefore, with this evidence, the cultivar name Buxus microphylla 'Compacta' is hereby reaffirmed and Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf' and remains a synonym.” (Adapted from, Buxus microphylla 'Kingsville Dwarf' vs. 'Compacta, by Lynn R. Batdorfl, The Boxwood Bulletin Vol. 55(2)  Winter 2016) (https://boxwoodsociety.org/uploads/55_2_2016_Winter.pdf

Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • leaves, winter

    leaves, winter