Box Identification

Box Buxus sempervirens is a an evergreen shrub or small tree found growing naturally on chalk and limestone in southern England, particularly in beech forests. Box Hill in Surrey has a large population of Box trees. There is disagreement over whether the tree is native to Britain or has been introduced. It is now very common in parks and gardens and is often used for hedging. The leaves are small, dark green and sometimes glossy. Its timber is highly prized by wood engravers

Box identification is by its bushy shape, small evergreen leaves and tiny flowers. It is usually found on chalk hillsides or beech forests

Box on a hillside in The Chilterns
The leaves are small and sometimes dark green and glossy like this. They may be notched.
Flower clusters are formed in the axis between the leaf and the main shoot. This photo shows flower buds in September. The flowers do not come out until the following spring.
The bark is cracked into plates on old trees.
Flowers are male or female. A flower cluster consists of a number of female and male flowers. Each female flower is surrounded by several male flowers with yellow anthers. The female flowers have no petals. In this photo there are 2 female flowers and several male flowers. Each female flower has 3 green stigmas. The flowers open in early spring, before many other trees are in flower. Photo taken in April. 
Each male flower has 4 yellow stamens which release pollen in early spring. Photo taken in March

Photo of 2 female flowers, after they have been pollinated. Each flower consists of a green ovary with 3 green styles. The brown stigmas can be seen at the top of each style. Photo taken in April. The flowers are pollinated by flies and bees, attracted by nectaries in the ovary of the female flower.

Old fruit in February. Each green ovary has become a light brown fruit which is in the form of a capsule which splits open to release black seeds.