Dodonaea_boroniifolia.JPG (59627 bytes)Dodonaea boroniifolia: is a member of the Sapindaceae family. The name commonly given to Dodonaeas is Hop Bushes. Early settlers used the winged fruits, of some species, as a substitute for hops in beer making.
There are 61 species and 59, of these, are native Australians.
Hop Bushes have insignificant flowers and may be dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant) or polygamous (having bisexual and unisexual flowers on the same plant).
From the preceding it can be seen that the Dodonaeas are a rather confused group of plants.
They are certainly not grown for their floral display. The flowers are followed by winged capsules and in many species these are a conspicuous and attractive feature. Capsules range in colour from green to dark red.
Dodonaea boroniifolia is a dwarf to small spreading shrub. The branchlets and leaves are sticky (a characteristic of many Hop Bushes). The divided leaves are dark green. Each leaflet has an unusual cluster of sunken glands on their upper margins. As far as we know this is the only Dodonaea with this feature. They are reminiscent of the glands on Acacia phyllodes.
Dodonaea boroniifolia has bright red, four-winged capsules about 20 millimetres long. The dark green foliage provides a contrast with the beautiful capsules. The capsules appear in late winter and spring.
Prune lightly to maintain dense and bushy growth.
Dodonaea boroniifolia is widespread throughout New South Wales as well as Queensland and Victoria.
We have fond memories of Dodonaea boroniifolia. Last century we were rangers in the Warrumbungle National Park in central west New South Wales. We lived in the Park and not far from our house there was a beautiful specimen of this Hop Bush. This plant was covered with bright red capsules and shone like a beacon in the Warrumbungle landscape.
In 2005 we bought two plants and in 2006 they have produced masses of brightly coloured capsules (see image). We will be propagating cuttings from these plants and scattering their progeny throughout our gardens.
Propagate from seed or cuttings. The seeds have hard coats and need to be treated with boiling water before sowing.