An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 197 Photo by eyeweed on Flickr
  2. 197_0 Flower buds photo by eyeweed on Flickr
  3. 197_1 Photo by Tony Rodd
  4. 197_2 Photo by Tony Rodd

Box-leaf Waxflower

Philotheca buxifolia subsp. buxifolia


  • Small evergreen shrub.
  • Size: up to 0.3 m high.
  • Leaves: round/elliptic with a rounded tip and heart-shaped base. They are 6 – 18 mm long and 3.5 – 12 mm wide, smooth and hairless, and without a stalk attaching it to the plant stem. Its lower surface is turned up but the leaves are not severely folded together like in some other sub-species.
  • Flowers: white to pink (pink on the outside when still in bud form) with broad-elliptic petals that are 8 – 15 mm long. There are four small bracteoles (modified leaf) at the base of each flower.
  • Fruit/seed: a many-lobed fruit that is 7 mm long. Each division or section (known as the coccus) contains one seed.

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • Open seed pods / fruits (record all days)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?".

When To Look

  • From winter through spring
  • Flowers appear from June to November
  • Fruits appear after flowers

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout from early June!

Where To Look

  • In heath on sandstone.
  • Mainly in the Sydney region.
  • Look in coastal heathlands around Sydney.

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions!



Pellow BJ, Henwood MJ and Carolin RC (2009) Flora of the Sydney Region. Ed. 5, p337, Sydney University Press.

Walther G, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J, Hoegh-Guldberg O, and Bairlein F 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416: 389–395.

  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    • Philotheca buxifolia subsp. falcata: tends not to occur in the same regions as it is confined to the Jervis Bay area, and its leaves severely overlap and have a narrow base.
    • Philotheca buxifolia subsp. obovata: leaves round/ egg-shaped, flat and generally not as wide (3 – 6 mm wide) with a narrowly triangular base.
  1. Did You Know?

    Many flowers of the Philotheca genus used to be classified in the Eriostemon genus.