Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive
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This is one of a series of short articles about trees and shrubs in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group.
Family: Sapindaceae
Dodonaea viscosa Jacq.
Akeake or hopbush

54o 34.993N
5o 55.941W

The Dodonaea genus is in the Sapindaceae family and has about 70 species mostly in Australia. Dodonaea viscosa is the only species seen in cultivation and is fairly rare. It can form a tree up to 9m, but is more usually seen as a shrub. The leaves exude a resin and are sticky and strongly scented - hence the Latin species name viscosa which means sticky. The hopbush is grown here for its coloured fruit capsules in late summer, but in Australia it has had numerous uses. The wood is exceptionally tough and there are many reported medicinal properties of its leaves. The early Australian colonists used the leaves to flavour beer in the absence of European hops - hence the name hopbush.

Dodonaea viscosa in Belfast Botanic Gardens Dodonaea viscosa fruit in Belfast Botanic Gardens
Dodonaea viscosa in Belfast Botanic Gardens Dodonaea viscosa leaves and fruit
branches of Dodonaea viscosa fruit capsule of Dodonaea viscosa
Fruiting branches of Dodonaea viscosa Fruit capsules of Dodonaea viscosa

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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