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Dodonaea viscosa (hopbush)

A highly variable, extremely widespread plant with numerous medicinal uses, hopbush is known by over 50 different common names.
Hopbush in flower

Dodonaea viscosa in Bolivia (Photo: J.R.I. Wood, Darwin Initiative Project)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Dodonaea viscosa Jacq.

Common name: 

hopbush, hopseed, hopwood, soapwood, candlewood. A full list of common names is found below.

Conservation status: 

Not threatened.


Generally occurring in open habitats, including open woodland, on well-drained soil in tropical and subtropical climates.

Known hazards: 

Contains low levels of toxic chemicals known as cyanogenic glycosides. Although there are no recorded cases of human poisonings it should be treated with caution. It is known to cause liver damage in cattle.


Genus: Dodonaea

About this species

Hopbush is a highly variable evergreen shrub or small tree with several subspecies and varieties. It occurs around most of the southern hemisphere, and its numerous useful properties have been discovered independently by people of different continents. The flowers are relatively unspectacular but its winged fruits can become red or purple as they mature, making it an attractive garden plant in the tropics and subtropics. One cultivated variety also develops purple leaves when grown in direct light. The scientific name, Dodonaea, refers to Rembert Dodoens (a 16th century Flemish royal physician, botanist and professor), viscosa to the stickiness of its leaves.


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