American Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
The first planting of a boxwood in the United States was in 1653 at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, on New York's Long Island, using boxwood brought overseas from Amsterdam [source: The American Boxwood Society]. Boxwoods are often associated with colonial architectural. So, if your house has columns or shutters or other colonial stylings, a boxwood tree out front would look historically correct.
There are approximately 160 registered cultivars of boxwood in the country. Some are dwarf, growing just a few feet high, and some grow up to 20 feet (6 meters). The American boxwood typically grows 5 to 10 feet high (1.5 to 3 meters), and can be used as a shrub or pruned into a tree. The leaves are dark, shiny green on top and pale green on the underside. You can use them as a formal hedge, with pruning, or an informal accent by letting the tree go native. The American Boxwood Society calls boxwood "man's oldest garden ornament."
While ornaments are good, edible ornaments are perhaps better. The tree on the next page can provide you with some healthy snacks.