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Dodonaea triquetra (SAPINDACEAE) Forest Hop Bush

Foliage and flowers

Dodonaea
Photo: Robert Whyte

Erect shrub to 3 m high in dry or wet sclerophyll forest usually on sand, or similarly well drained soil.

Leaves hairless, simple, elliptic, sometimes lanceolate or ovate, to 12 cm long, apex acuminate to acute, base narrow cuneate to attenuate, margins entire or sinuate, petiole 2-7 mm long.

Flowers in terminal panicles; pedicels mostly 5-10 mm long. Sepals 4 rarely 5, 0.6-1 mm long, broad triangular not persistent. Stamens 8, rarely 10. Ovary glabrous.

Capsule 3-winged, 9.5-16 mm long, 10-15 mm wide, glabrous; wings 2-5 mm wide, membranous.

Genus after R. Dodoens, triquetra means three angles.

Fruit


Dodonaea
Photo: Robert Whyte

Papery seed cases on a Dodonaea in coastal heath, Stradbroke Island.

Fruit closeup


Dodonaea
Photo: Robert Whyte

The fruit can be prolific on bushes, a mass of green then turning blackish purple or just brown, and very papery.

Host plant for Hypochrysops ignita (Fiery Jewel). The adult male and female butterflies look very similar. On top, they are basically dark brown, with a blue iridescent sheen. Underneath they have patterns like flames: yellow with scarlet bands outlined in black, white, and iridescent green. This is presumably the origin of their scientific name, derived from 'ignis', the Latin word for 'fire'. There are also three or four black spots under each forewing.