Common Boxwood

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The common boxwood is a beautiful, thick shrub that provides clear aesthetic value to its surroundings. This particular shrub is displayed individually outside Yale Health, though they are commonly planted in close proximity to other common boxes to form a continuous hedge. We have named this shrub Penelope, and she adds great character to the landscape through her unpredictable and jagged form.
Phil Zuccaro, Sophie Wright
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Spreading Shrub
Date of tree entry: 
0.98 m
Diameter at breast height: 
1.21 m

The common box shrub has light brown bark that has a slightly rough texture. They main trunks are not very tall and span out into branches a couple of inches off the ground.
Twigs & branches
There are several branches that come off the main trunk not far from the ground. They have the same brown, rough bark as the trunk and grow horizontally and vertically. The thin twigs with leaves that grow off of it are smooth and olive colored.
Buxus sempervirens have obovate shaped green leaves They sit sub opposite from each other on their branches and have even pinnate leaves. They stay on year round. In the Winter they are brown/green colored while in the Spring turn a more vibrant green. Their leaves have a parallel venation patterns.
Reproductive Structures
The common box have petals flowers that sprout in the Spring. They are fragrant and can attract insects for pollination. Additionally, they are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. This is advantageous because they do not need other animals or plants to reproduce and can easily maintain their own populations.
The Common Boxwood produces fruits after the sprouting of spring flowers. The fruit are small, green three-chambered capsules. Once they mature they turn brown in color. Photo source:
  • Common Boxwood in the Winter
  • Common Boxwood in the Spring (similar to how it looks in the Summer and Fall)
  • Flowers that sprout in the Spring
Natural range of distribution: 
The common box is native to Europe and Asia, though it is commonly used in areas across the globe for its aesthetic value, including Northern Africa and North/South America.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The common box was first utilized for its aesthetic values by the Egyptians in 4000 B.C.. It is one of the only evergreen plants to be used for medicinal purposes, as its wood has been found to have some sedative properties. It has been employed to treat secondary syphilis, epilepsy, and toothaches. Despite this versatility in use in the past, it is no longer commonly used to treat these ailments. Although it is used as hedges across North America, the common box is native to Europe and Asia.&nbsp;</p>

The Common Box can grow between eight and twenty feet tall. They can spread between 10-15 feet. They grow slowly to become round and dense. They are typically multi-trunked and thin green and brown twigs expand outward. They have less than 2 inch long, oval shaped leaves. They are evergreen shrubs meaning their leaves stay on year round. In the winter they can turn more brown while in the spring are a brighter green. In the spring, they have creamy colored fragrant flowers without petals. They can live for hundreds of years.
Media and Arts

Her name is Penelope,

She is small but thick,

Her leaves have been used for medicine,

So please give them a lick.

Though she is small,

Her relatives have been known to reach twenty feet tall!

As an evergreen, her leaves never fall,

They turn brown in the Winter,

In Spring they are as green as a tennis ball!

Though young she may be,

Her youth is enduring,

Hundreds of years may go by,

And still she is maturing!

Native to Asia and Europe,

She cannot be contained,

She is planted all across the world,

Never to be restrained!

We do love our Penelope,

As members of the Penolope Fan Club,

And we do hope she loves us,

Though this is unlikely,

Because she is just a shrub.

Shrub Canopy Area: