Dodonaea viscosa (Akeake)
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
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.