The Box is a well-known plant in Mediterranean cultures. Its specific name sempervirens -always green- refers to the persistence of its foliage. As many other sempervirens plants, for Greeks and Romans the box symbolized the desire for eternal life.
Its wood is very hard and appreciated for making mathematical or musical instruments. Boxwood is mainly used as a hedge for its longevity of until 600 years. Along with myrtle, the box is one of the favorite species used by the ancient Romans in the development of topiary art, discipline consisting in vegetable sculptures with geometric or animal forms classical gardening.
This technique was again trendy in Europe in the sixteenth century due to a cultural movement of conscious recovery of Greco-Roman culture, the Renaissance. In the Real Alcázar of Seville, Garden of the Ladies was decorated in times of Philip II with boxwood figures representing the emblems of the Military Orders and thus appear in the existing plans of the gardens of the Real Alcázar de mid-eighteenth. These shields of the Garden of the Ladies and plant motifs and designs made of box from other gardens like the Grotto one, embellished and endowed with a fantastic and mysterious air to the gardens. Boxwood work like this was defined in 1788 by the illustrated curator of the Alcázares, Francisco de Bruna, as the most gorgeous item to be found there.