Dodonaea viscosca

The hopseed is a versatile evergreen that reaches heights of twelve to fifteen feet, with an equal spread. Its fibrous leaves appear dark-green, glossy, long, and narrow, or they can be a dark crimson or purple, depending on the variety. New foliage is often covered in a fine sticky substance, while older foliage is smoother. It produces small clusters of greenish-white to purple blossoms in early spring that sometimes resemble hops. Its showy fruit is greenish-tan with papery wings and the seeds are eaten by birds, dove, and quail. The hopseed bush is hardy to fifteen to seventeen degrees Fahrenheit, and some varieties are hardier than others. Its foliage will be severely damaged in the low teens. If frosted back, the plant recovers in the spring. The green-leafed varieties ‘Arizona’ and ‘Mexico’ are hardier. The plant likes full sun to partial shade and is extremely drought-resistant. Provide supplemental irrigation during the hot season to encourage a lush appearance. The hopseed bush might suffer from iron chlorosis if given too much water and may need some supplemental iron fertilizer. It looks best in its natural appearance, so avoid over-pruning. The plant grows in just about any soil, but prefers well-draining, amended soil. Use it as a screen, hedge or accent in desert landscapes. It can also be used as backdrop or transitional landscape shrub to add a touch of deep green or purple color during the winter season when other plants are dormant. It is native to the warm, arid regions of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the southwest deserts of Arizona, California, and Mexico at elevations of 2,000 to 5,000 feet. It can be found growing in washes, canyons, and arroyos, and on dry, rocky slopes.

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