Native Hops (Dodonaea viscosa)

Shrub
D. attenuata. A.Cunn.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Native Hops
Dodonaea viscosa
Sapindaceae

The leaves contain up to 18% tannin[238].

Plants are very tolerant of pruning and make a good hedging plant for windy sites[188, 240].

Wood – heavy, tough, resistant. Used for wedges, hammers, turnery, inlay, cabinets etc[154].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are anodyne, astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge (the var. angustissima is normally used[152]), odontalgic and vulnerary[152, 238]. They are applied internally in the treatment of fevers[238]. Externally, they are used to treat toothache, sore throats, wounds, skin rashes and stings[238, 257].

    The leaves are apparently effective in the treatment of toothache if they are chewed without swallowing the juice[238].

    The bark is employed in astringent baths and poultices[240].

  • Edible Use

    Seed[177, 183]. No further details are given.

    The bitter fruits are a substitute for hops and yeast in making beer[177, 181, 183].

    The chewed leaves are said to be stimulating[177, 183] but they contain saponins[181] and are also said to be slightly cyanogenic[152] so their use is not very advisable.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The leaves are slightly cyanogenic[152]. They are also said to contain saponins[181]. Although quite toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problems. Saponins can be found in a number of common foods such as some types of beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse[K]. The seed is slow to germinate according to one report[200], but it germinated in 3 weeks in a cold greenhouse with us[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a fairly sunny part of the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out in early summer of their second or third year’s growth after the last expected frosts and give them some protection from the cold for their next winter or two[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[188].
Requires a light well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Succeeds in almost any fertile soil and in a hot dry position. Resists drought, salt winds and (atmospheric?) pollution[200]. Plants are very wind hardy but are not resistant to frost[166]. They tolerate temperatures down to about -7¡c in Australian gardens[157], but are damaged at about 3¡c in British gardens[200]. One report says that they succeed outdoors in the mildest gardens in Britain[182]. Plants are growing very well in pots in a polyhouse on our trial grounds in south Cornwall, but they have not survived in the open ground[K]. Our seed source was from Australia, other provenances might be more hardy[K]. Plants are difficult to transplant when they are more than 60 centimetres tall[200]. Polymorphic, there are a number of sub-species[154, 157]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Australia, New Zealand and N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.