Dodonaea spp.



Hopbush.

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Dodonaea spp.

Botanical information

An evergreen shrub, it grows to a height of 3m with a spread of 3m. The stem is slender, with thin, reddish bark and an open-textured crown; the leaves are purplish, entire, broad, acuminate and 10cm long; the flowers are yellowish green and inconspicuous, appearing in spring; the fruit is a small, soft, triple winged capsule.

A native of NSW, SA, Vic (Australia) and New Zealand, it prefers light, well-drained soils in an open, sunny position and is drought and frost resistant.

Propagation is by seed or cuttings.


Traditional uses

The Maories of New Zealand carved their weapons of war from the wood of this shrub. Australian Aboriginees used many Dodoneas, including D.viscosa as a stimulant, expectorant and local anaesthetic. The root of D. viscosa was applied to sore and painful gums and teeth for immediate relief. In Chile the leaves of Dodoneas are frequently consumed as a substitute for Coca leaves. Australian white settlers used the fruit of several Dodonea species as a substitute for hops due to the superficial resemblance and found it to be an adequate replacement.


Pharmacology

The leaves and stems have been shown to contain an alkaloid. Roots appear not to have been tested. The alkaloids of the closely related Atalaya hemiglauca have an adrenergic effect.

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