Orange Boxwood

    (Maytenus disperma)


Also known as: Orange Bush

Orange Boxwood is quite hard to find around the area, the most accessible specimens found at the foot of Lords Table mountain in dry rainforest remnants - National Park so they're safe from me there at least! Found to around 6 metres high with a rounded crown, the largest trunk I've seen was around 200mm diameter.
The tree flowers from about August and forms masses of small yellow fruit capsules.
The most distinguishing feature of Orange Boxwood is the inner surface of the bark which is an amazingly bright orange. I've not seen this on any other tree, even in other members of the maytenus genus. I don't know if the common name came from the colour of the timber or the inner bark but I believe it should be reserved for m.disperma simply because of the unique inner bark.
Orange Boxwood timber is of medium weight with a fine, close grain and a fine but visible medullary ray - just a little finer than maytenus cunninghamii which is often called Orange Boxwood also.
The pictured specimen cracked quite badly during initial drying but I suspect that may have been due to the very wet season it was harvested after. I feel it would be more stable under normal or drier conditions.
Orange Boxwood is a pleasure to turn and machine and it sands as easily as chalk. It is a little thirsty on finishes but comes up very nicely without too much trouble. The small items at left were turned green from tiny off-cuts from the milling process because I just couldn't bear to waste a scrap. The bowl was turned to just over 1mm thick and allowed to warp as it dried.


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