T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Dodonaea viscosa (Akeake)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Dodonaea
Species: D. viscosa
Binomial name: Dodonaea viscosa
Synonyms: Dodonaea viscosa var. angustifolia, Dodonaea viscosa f. angustifolia, Dodonaea viscosa subsp. Angustifolia, Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima.
Common name: Akeake, Hopbush, Sticky hopbush, Switch sorrel,
The Maori name for the shrub, akeake, means "forever and ever".

Dodonaea viscosa is Indigenous. New Zealand: Three Kings, North, South and Chatham Islands and is now widespread throughout the world.  Dodonaea viscosa is New Zealand's sole species of the genus: Dodonaea.  It is a shrub growing >3 m tall, and rarely >9 m tall. The leaves are simple elliptical, 4–7.5 cm long and 1–1.5 cm broad, alternate in arrangement, and they secrete a resinous substance. Hence a common name Sticky Hopbush. A study of leaves yielded an carbohydrates, flavonoids, fixed oil, proteins and amino acids, saponins, steroids and sterols, tannins, and triterpenoids.
The flowers (7mm) are dioecious; small, yellow-green, lacking petals. The male and female flowers are generally on different trees. The yellow to orange-red flowers are yellow to orange-red and are produced on panicles about 2.5 cm in length. Flowering occurs spring to mid-summer. 
The fruit is a capsule (1.5 cm wide) with thin, flat, papery, rounded wings. This 3 sided pod contains 3 dark brown or black seeds. The pod is green, ageing to pink to tan. The fruits have been used as a substitute for hops.
The bark separates into long stripes. The wood is extremely tough and durable, and New Zealand's Maori have used Akeake to fashion clubs and other weapons.

A branch laden with flowers (March)


An adult tree 

A young tree planted in a sub-division end of Smiths Road, New Plymouth. Photographed early February,


The upstanding leaves.
  

Male flowers November.

Developing winged fruit.


Pale yellow winged fruits


Winged fruit capsule.


The dried wing fruit.

Top surface of a leaf.


Surface of a young leaf.


Underside of a leaf.


Sometmes the leaves can have a redish tinge.


Trunk of a young tree.


Trunk of a mature Akeake


Below is Dodonaea viscosa 'Purpurea' (Purple-leafed Hop-bush) which is a cultivar. It is a rapid growing, evergreen shrub reaches 4m in height. It is more upright when young and spreading out with age (2m). It has lanceolate bronzy-green 10 cm long leaves which turn purple in cooler weather. Tolerates some shade but colour is better if grown in full sun. Tiny green flowers in clusters mid-summer followed by brown maple-like seed capsules in late summer.