Position: Dappled to full shade
Flowering period: Late winter
Soil: Moist but well drained
Eventual Height: 1.5m
Eventual Spread: 1.5m
Hardiness: 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a 10b
Sarcococca saligna is a slow growing, evergreen shrub with a bushy, arching habit. Its dark green glossy leaves are ovate to lanceolate with entire margins, up to 14cm long and 3cm broad. Its slightly fragrant green/ white flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves. The female flowers are produced below the male flowers. The female flowers are then followed by fleshy purple berries.
Sarcococca saligna, commonly known as Sweet Box, is native to the west Himalayan region. In its native habitat it grows in forests and stream banks.
The etymological root of the binomial name Sarcococca is derived from the Greek sarx ’flesh’ and kokkos ’berry’. Saligna is from the Latin meaning ‘made of Willow wood’, I presume in reference to its leaves.
The landscape architect may find Sarcococca saligna useful as a low growing, evergreen shade tolerant shrub, including in the dry shade of tree. It may be used as a formal or informal hedging plant. Once established this shrub is drought tolerant.
Ecologically, Sarcococca saligna is valuable as it attracts birds to the berries and is an excellent source of winter nectar for insects.
Sarcococca saligna prefers moist, humus rich, moderately fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate dry shady soils.
Sarcococca saligna requires little maintenance. If required pruning should be carried out after flowering.