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(Afrikaans) : bosysterhout, gansiebos, sandolien, sandolyf, ysterhoutbos
(English) : giant bush hop, sand olive
(Swahili) : mkaa-pwani
Dodonaea angustifolia is a variable shrub or tree, usually 2-8 m tall; branchlets rusty red and resinous; bark dark grey, fissured and peeling. Leaves simple lanceolate, pale green, margins untoothed; leaf tip round or pointed; 5-10 cm long, 5-8 mm wide; leaves secrete gummy exudate - thus appearing shiny always. Flowers inconspicuous, pale green; sepals greenish-yellow, petals absent; stamens brown. Fruits pale green, sometimes inflated; 3-winged, wings pale brown or coral pink. Seed black, smooth. The taxonomy of the species has been confusing because of its widespread distribution and similarity to the closely related D. viscosa. Dodonaea was named after Rambert Dodoaens, a famous 16th century physician and author on plants. The specific epithet means narrow-leaved.
Ecology and distributionNatural Habitat
The sand olive is common in scrub, on mountains and rocky soils.
Native : Australia, Ethiopia, Kenya, New Zealand, Oman, South Africa, Tanzania
Exotic : United States of America
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 0-2 800 m Mean annual rainfall: 450 mm Soil type: Often on rocky sites or poor soils.
The tree is hermaphroditic. Seeds are wind dispersed.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsSeedlings, wildings and direct sowing are used to propagate the sand olive.
D. angustifolia is a fast growing and hardy shrub. Little or no management is required once it is established. It regenerates rapidly after burning.
Presowing treatment not necessary. Seeds can be stored for up to one year with germination rates ranging between 30-70%. There are about 100 000 seeds/kg.
Functional usesProductsFodder: The fruits ‘hops’ can be fed to cattle. Apiculture: The flowers are ideal bee forage. Fuel: Sand olive provides good quality charcoal and firewood. Timber: The wood is hard, termite resistant and heavy, useful for implement handles. Poison: The foliage has been cited in cases of poisoning when grazed. Medicine: The root infusion is used as a remedy for common cold in East and South Africa. The leaves have anaesthetic properties and are also chewed for their stimulating effect. Other medicinal uses are for fever, sore throats, chest complaints, influenza, stomach disorders and cancer.
Erosion control: Sand olive roots are soil binding and effective in soil conservation. Shade or shelter: The plant is a shade provider. Reclamation: Widely used in arid areas to bind sand or reclaim marshes, an excellent choice for sand dune fixation and erosion control. Ornamental: Grown as an ornamental for its shiny foliage and decorative pink-red winged fruits. In the United States of America it is considered a decorative pot plant. The sand olive lends itself well for landscape gardening. Boundary or barrier or support: D. angustifolia is a good hedge plant for dry areas, useful in sand or marshy soils. The poles are useful in fencing.
Pests and diseasesThe tree is often infested with a white scale insect.
BibliographyHong TD, Linington S, Ellis RH. 1996. Seed storage behaviour: a compendium. Handbooks for Genebanks: No. 4. IPGRI.
ICRAF. 1991. Multipurpose Trees and Shrubs database. Nairobi, Kenya.
Palmer E, Pitman N. 1972. Trees of Southern Africa Vol. 2. A.A. BalKema Cape Town.
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