Dodonaea is predominantly an Australian genus which is well distributed in all states. There are 69 species and 60 of them are endemic to Australia. They are commonly called ‘hop bushes’ because the colourful fruits resemble the fruits used in brewing
Dodonaea falcata was formerly included in D.filifolia. It is a small to medium shrub with narrow leaves 25-50 mm long forming a sickle shape with a curved tip. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants but as with most dodonaeas they are visually insignificant. The fruits occur in late spring to summer and are purplish, winged capsules about 10 mm in diameter. These only occur on female plants.
D.falcata has not been cultivated to any great extent but it is an attractive species with colourful fruits. It requires a well drained position in full sun or dappled shade. It will tolerate at least moderate frosts. Pruning during fruiting for indoor decoration helps to maintain a bushy shape.
Propagation can be carried out from seed following pretreatment in near boiling water. However, for horticultural purposes, propagation from cuttings is the preferred method as this ensures that female plants are propagated. For further information on propagation, see Dodonaea – The Hop Bush, in Issue 27 of Australian Plants online.
Photo: Brian Walters