Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal


Wildflower Logo.
Wildflowers & Weeds

Facebook Button.
Banner Image.
Wildflowers-and-Weeds.com  
Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more.
Home | Plant Identification | Plant Families Gallery | Edible Plants | Mushrooms | Links
Desertification & Weed Ecology | Weed Profiles | E-Mail | Search this Site

Celastraceae
Plants of the Staff Tree Family

      If you like hiking in the mountains, then you may have encountered at least one member of the Staff Tree family (also known as the Staff Vine or Bittersweet family) in your travels. Oregon boxwood or mountain lover (Paxistima myrsinites) is a short evergreen shrub growing in or around western forests, especially in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges. Its less-common cousin, Canby's mountain lover (P. canbyi) can be found in the Appalachians. Upon first inspection, the shrubs could be mistaken for plants of the Heath Family, except that they have opposite leaves. In central and eastern North America, one is also likely to encounter the poisonous American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), a sturdy vine with orange-red, three-celled fruits.

      Botanically, members of the Staff Tree family include shrubs, trees, and vines, some with evergreen leaves. The flowers are usually small, bisexual, and regular with 4 or 5 (rarely 2) separate or basally united sepals, 4 or 5 (rarely 2) separate petals, and typically a similar number of stamens. The ovary consists of 2 to 5 united carpels with the partition walls present, forming an equal number of chambers, as indicated by a similar number of stigmas. In most species, the ovary matures as a capsule, usually with 1 or 2 seeds per chamber (sometimes numerous), but some species form a berry, drupe (a fleshy fruit with a stony pit), or a samara (winged seed). Worldwide, there are about 85 genera and 850 species.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.


 Paxistima myrsinites. Oregon Boxwood or Mountain Lover.

Paxistima myrsinites. Oregon Boxwood or Mountain Lover.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

There are more
Staff Tree Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Identify plants with
Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
Start feasting with
Foraging the Mountain West

Return to the Plant Families Index
Return to the Wildflowers & Weeds Home Page

Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

Portal Icon.
Return to Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal | Web World Tunnel

Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Pages
About Tom | Green University®, LLC
HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2017 Thomas J. Elpel