Sticky Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa)

Sticky Hop Bush seed cases
Sticky Hop Bush seed capsules


Family: Sapindaceae

Habitat: Mallee, woodlands

Description and uses: 

Sticky Hop bush (Dodonaea viscosa) is a common tree in South Australia. It grows to about 3m tall. Its shiny, slightly sticky, slightly fragrant leaves that are coated with a resin give it its name and make it pretty easy to identify. The flowers are green to brown and occur July to September. The fruits and seed capsules change from green to purple or red as they age.

It is called ‘hop bush’ because in the past, its bitter flowers and seed pods have been used to flavour beer. It is also high on tannins and has been used to tan hide.

Probably the most important thing about this tree, from our perspective, is that it has been used by the Aboriginal folk and settlers as a cure for toothache. It works!

The whole plant is full of tannins. That means that crushing applying any part (mostly the leaves, of course) will stop the bleeding from minor cuts and scrapes. The best way (or the worst way depending on your taste) is to chew the leaves then apply the wad. Quick!

Crush up some leaves, chew them and press the wad onto the aching tooth and hold it there. The pain will subside quickly.

Researchers are currently evaluation compounds from Sticky Hop bush for antidiabetic and antibacterial effects.


The flowers of Dodonaea viscosa
The flowers of Dodonaea viscosa


The fruits have been used as a substitute for Hops in beer making.