Shrubs or small trees; branchlets terete, longitudinally ribbed, grayish white; young branches tetragonous, pubescent; internode (3-)5-20 mm. Petiole 1-2 mm; leaf blade varied in shape and size, broadly elliptic, broadly obovate, orbicular, obovate, obovate-oblong, or elliptic-lanceolate to lanceolate, (5-)7-35 × (3.5-)5-20 mm, leathery, thickly leathery, or thinly leathery, shining adaxially, glabrous on both surfaces or puberulent along basal half of midrib, base rounded to cuneate, apex rounded, obtuse with retuse tip or acuminate with acute tip; midrib elevated adaxially, lateral veins obscure and rugulose adaxially. Inflorescences axillary, capitate; rachis 3-4 mm, pubescent; bracts broadly ovate, 2-2.5 mm, ± pubescent abaxially. Male flowers ca. 10, sessile; outer tepals ovate-elliptic; inner tepals suborbicular, 2.5-3 mm, glabrous; stamens ca. 4 mm; sterile pistil with clavate gynophore, apex slightly inflated, ca. 2 mm, sterile pistil and tepals length ca. 2:3 or equal to 3:2. Female flowers: tepals ca. 3 mm; ovary slightly longer than style, glabrous; style thick and compressed; stigma obcordate, decurrent to middle part of style. Capsule subglobose, 6-8(-10) mm; persistent style 2-3 mm.
Forests in mountain valleys and on slopes, thickets, streamsides, stony areas; 600-2600 m. Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Taiwan, Zhejiang.
Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, sandy loams. Tolerant of pruning and shearing. In USDA Zones 4 through 6, this boxwood is best sited in a sheltered location which protects it from winter winds. Avoid cultivating around plants because they have shallow roots. Roots appreciate a good mulch.
This Chinese boxwood cultivar is a dense, compact, many-branched, broad, mounded evergreen shrub which usually has a loose and open habit. Slow annual growth (to 2" in height per year), however height may obviously be controlled by pruning. Typically grown as a 2-4' tall (infrequently larger) shrub with a somewhat larger spread. An extremely hardy plant that is a good choice for northern climates. Apetulous, greenish yellow flowers (separate male and female flowers on the same plant) appear in early spring. Flowers are insignificant but quite fragrant. Small, obovate, medium green leaves (to 5/8" long). Although the foliage of Buxus sinica var. insularis tends to bronze (turn unattractive brownish yellow) in severe St. Louis winters, the foliage of 'Wintergreen', as the name suggests, is less likely to do so. Formerly known as and sometimes still sold as Buxus microphylla var. koreana 'Wintergreen'.
A slow grower that requires little special care other than annual pruning. Some susceptibility to blight and leaf spot. Root rot can also be a problem in poorly drained soils. 'Wintergreen' shows good resistance to the three main insect pests of boxwoods (boxwood leaf miner, boxwood mite and psyllids).
Hedge or foundation plant. Mass, specimen or accent. Formal gardens or shrub borders. Bonsai plant.