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A group of four or five species of curious semi-woody plants of tufted habit, allied to Buxus, but very distinct in general appearance, being in habit low and more or less prostrate. Leaves dullish green, alternate, mostly aggregated near the apex of the season’s growth. Flowers unisexual on erect spikes, the males numerous, the females solitary or few; both sexes on the same spike, the females at the base. Petals none; sepals and stamens four in the male; sepals four to six, and ovary three-celled in the female. Fruit a two- or three-celled capsule, with the styles persisting at the top like three curved horns. The generic name is in allusion to the thick stamens.
The pachysandras thrive in any moist soil, and do not mind shade; they make neat tufts, but are of only moderate decorative value, though useful as ground-cover. Easily increased by summer cuttings.