Natural populations

Dodonaea viscosa is widespread species that extends across much of the southern half of Western Australia and Northern Territory, most of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and the eastern part of Tasmania [1]. This species occurs in a wide range of habitats from depositional landforms such as near creeks or alluvial flats, to rocky hillsides and ridges on a wide range of soil types [1,2,3]. Seven subspecies are recognised: subsp. angustifolia, subsp. angustissima, subsp. burmanniana, subsp. cuneata, subsp. mucronata, subsp. spatulata and subsp. viscosa [for further details on subspecies see Refs 1,2].

Flowering and seeds

This species is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants, it flowers mainly late winter to spring and in summer and seeds ripen about 10-11 months later [3,4]. No treatment is required to induce germination but heating in hot water for 30 seconds will shorten germination response [4].

Cultivation and uses

Dodonaea viscosa can be a relatively fast growing shrub with an ability to pioneer degraded sites. Many of the subspecies are extemely frost and drought tolerant and are also considered a valuable source of pollen by apiculturalists [5]. The wood is very dense, hard and durable [3,6]. This species is killed by fire and caution is recommended when cultivating it due to its potential for weediness [6].

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall (mm): 120-1600 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 14-28 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 26-40 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 3-11 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free,  or up to or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-1000 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, duplex texture contrast soils, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5), neutral (6.5-7.5) or alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or  moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity or alkalinity
Extremes in texture: clayey or sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall, multiple stems from or near ground level
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites or excellent for sandy sites
Shade tolerance: tolerates partial shade
Wood density: low (less than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: low or negligible
Specialty products: pollen has value for apiculture, foliage, fruits have potential for floriculture
Traditional Aboriginal uses: medicinal
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant or suitable as a screen or hedge
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Susceptibility to disease or predation:  oliage highly susceptible to insect predation or pathogenic leaf diseases
Foliage: cases of stock poisoning have been reported
Weediness: listed at least once as a declared weed species (?) or high potential based on its biology


[1] West JG (1984). A Revision of Dodonaea Miller (Sapindaceae) in Australia. Brunonia 7: 1-194.

[2] PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales website:

[3] Cunningham GM, Mulham WE, Milthorpe PL, Leigh JH (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales, Inkata Press.

[4] Bonney N (2003) What Seed Is That? A guide to the identification, collection, germination and establishment of native plant species for central southern Australian landscapes. Neville Bonney, Tantanoola.

[5] Clemson A (1985) Honey and Pollen Flora. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[6] Doran JC, Turnbull JW (eds.) (1997) Australian Trees and Shrubs: species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra [ACIAR books online:]

Internet links

Alice Spings Town Council:

Australian National Botanic Gardens:

eFloraSA Electronic Flora of South Australia:

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: