Appearance''D. viscosa'' is a shrub growing to 1–3 m tall, rarely a small tree to 9 m tall. The leaves are variable in shape: generally obovate but some of them are lanceolate, often sessile, 4–7.5 cm long and 1–1.5 cm broad, alternate in arrangement, and secrete a resinous substance. Many specimens have a pointed or rounded apex. Leaf base is extended. Leaf texture is leathery, tough, but also pliable. Midribs are medium becoming less visible close to the apex. Secondary veins are thin, generally indistinct; Veins: often 6 to 10 pairs, indifferently opposite, subopposite, and alternate, camptodrome. Venation branches from the midrib at different angles, which may vary from 12° to 70°. The basal veins are very ascending in some plants: the angle of divergence may be close to 45°. The basal secondary venation branches from a point near the base of the main vein and becomes parallel with the leaf margin, with the distance of 1 millimeter to 2 millimeters from the edges. Margins are usually toothed or undulating. The remaining secondary veins lay at regular intervals with flowers usually growing at the branches’ ends. The flowers are yellow to orange-red and produced in panicles about 2.5 cm in length. The flowers may be only male or female ones, and one plant bears either male or female flowers. However, sometimes they are observed to bear flowers of both sexes. The pollen is transported by anemophily. It is believed that D. viscosa flowers lack petals during evolution to increase exposure to the wind. The fruit is a capsule 1.5 cm broad, red ripening brown, with two to four wings.
NamingThe common name hopbush is used for ''D. viscosa'' specifically but also for the genus as a whole.
In the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, this plant is called ''virāli'' .
Australian common names include: broad leaf hopbush, candlewood, giant hopbush, narrow leaf hopbush, sticky hopbush, native hop bush, soapwood, switchsorrel, wedge leaf hopbush, and native hop.
Additional common names include: ʻaʻaliʻi and ‘a‘ali‘i-ku ma kua and ‘a‘ali‘i ku makani in the Hawaiian language; akeake ; lampuaye ; mesechelangel ; chirca ; Xayramad ; romerillo ; jarilla ; hayuelo ; ch'akatea ; casol caacol ; ghoraskai .There are several subspecies as follows:
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''angustifolia'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''angustissima'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''burmanniana'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''cuneata'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''mucronata'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' subsp. ''spatulata'' J.G.West
⤷ ''D. viscosa'' Jacq. subsp. ''viscosa''
⤷ ''D. eriocarpa'' Sm.
⤷ ''D. sandwicensis'' Sherff
⤷ ''D. stenocarpa'' Hillebr.
UsesThe wood is extremely tough and durable. In New Zealand, where it is the heaviest of any native wood, the Māori have traditionally used it for making weapons, carved walking staves, axe-handles, and weights on drill shafts. ''D. viscosa'' is used by the people from the western part of the island of New Guinea, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Brazil for house building and as firewood. Its leaves may also be used as plasters for wounds.
Native Hawaiians made ''pou'' , ''laʻau melomelo'' , and ''ʻōʻō'' from ''ʻaʻaliʻi'' wood and a red dye from the fruit.
The cultivar 'Purpurea', with purple foliage, is widely grown as a garden shrub. ''Dodonaea viscosa'' easily occupies open areas and secondary forest, and is resistant to salinity, drought and pollution. It can be used for dune stabilization, remediation of polluted lands and for reforestation. The plant is tolerant to strong winds, and therefore is commonly used as hedge, windbreak, and decorative shrub.
The Seri use the plant medicinally. It was also used to stimulate lactation in mothers, as a dysentery treatment, to cure digestive system disorders, skin problems and rheumatism in Africa and Asia. In New Guinea, people use it as incense for funerals. In the past ''D. viscosa'' was used instead of hops for beer brewing by Australians .
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