Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dodonaea polyandra Merr. & L.M.Perry

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. & Perry, L.M. (1940) Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 21: 525. Type: British New Guinea: Western Division, Wassi Kussa River, Tarara, Brass 8379 (Type).

Common name

Hop Bush


A small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh. Dead bark layered. Wood hard and tough, quite capable of wrecking the face of a finely sharpened brushook.


Young leaves and twigs covered with a clear varnish. Leaf blades about 5.5-10.5 x 1.6-4.2 cm. Midrib and main lateral veins raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade.


Pedicels about 4.5-14 mm long. Tepals linear-oblong, about 2.5-3 mm long, caducous. Stamens about 11-14. Ovary glabrous.


Capsule 2-winged, rarely 3-winged, capsule + wings about 16-28 x 15-30 mm, glabrous, wings about (4)6-9 mm wide.


Cotyledons linear, about 20-27 x 4-5 mm. First pair of leaves alternate or subopposite, margins lobed. Subsequent leaves alternate, margins entire. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex retuse. Young leaves covered with a clear varnish and midrib raised on the upper surface. Seed germination time 7 to 52 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 500 m. Grows in open forest but also found on the margins of rain forest, monsoon forest and beach forest. This species is favoured by disturbance, particularly severe fires, and regenerates en masse producing a thicket which is difficult to walk through because of the density and toughness of individual stems. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

A widespread small tree that should be tried in tropical gardens. Fruits are winged and ripen to brown.

Dodonea viscosa var. vulgaris f. burmanniana subf. laurina (Britten) Radlk., Pflanzenr. 98: 1369(1933). Dodonaea viscosa var. laurina Britten, Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage Round the World 1: 16(1900), Type: Queensland, Lookout Point (Cape Grafton), 1770, J. Banks & D. Solander: lecto: BM. Fide McGillivray (1975) Telopea
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