Dodonaea viscosa

Sticky Hop Bush

Family: Sapindaceae

Dodonaea viscosa, the Sticky Hop Bush, is a tall multi-stemmed shrub reaching a height of four metres. The leaves are linear, sticky with a margin that may be entire, slightly wavy and slightly toothed.

Male and female flowers are held on different plants. The male flowers are insignificant whilst the females develop into 3-winged capsules. If fertilised a hard-coated seed is held at the base of each wing. If not fertilised the capsules develop but without seeds.

Spring is the flowering period. At this time, although they are insignificant, the male flowers sometimes attract honey bees in large numbers.

Dodonaea viscosa is separated into seven sub species. Although the subspecies have some botanical differences, horticulturally they are similar.

D. viscosa is a widespread species and is found throughout Australia including Lord Howe Island.

D. viscosa was used by Aboriginal people to treat toothache, cuts and stingray stings. Dodonaeas were also used by early settlers to make beer (hence the common name).

In the garden

The Sticky Hop Bush has attractive foliage and fruits. In fact many Hop Bushes have horticultural potential but unfortunately very few species are in general cultivation.


Propagate from seed or cuttings. Seed should be soaked in boiling water before sowing. We have found that cuttings take root rapidly. Propagating cuttings from female plants will ensure that you will have the attractive capsules.

Other information

The genus is named after Rembert Dodoens, a 16th century Flemish botanist.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather