isiXhosa: (not known)

Afrikaans: Sandolien, Bosysterhout, Ysterbos,

Sand olive

Sand olive

Dodonaea angustifolia

Scientific name

Dodonaea angustifolia, the sand olive, is a slender shrub or small tree that occurs naturally from southern Africa to Arabia, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. The seed capsules are three-winged and are dispersed by wind. Although naturally occurring in rocky areas it is also cultivated to stabilise moving sand and to prevent erosion. Extracts are used as medicine.

The dense bushy hedges which it may form are ideal bird nesting sites and the flowers attract butterflies. The seed has papery wings and is possibly dispersed by wind.

This shrub is grown worldwide, as the roots have soil-binding properties which are effective for the purpose of stabilizing sand dunes and to control erosion.

Image credit: SANBI/PlantZafrica

Propagation instructions

By seed

Seed can be harvested in autumn and sown in spring into plastic seed trays. A sandy soil mix is used mixed with 10% compost. Dodonaea germinates quite easily,so no special treatment of the seed is needed, and it does well in cultivation. The plastic seed trays are then kept moist and the seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks' time. When the seedlings are about 100-150 mm tall they are moved to a netted hardening area that gets 30% shade during the day, making them used to more sun.

From there they can grow up to 300-400 mm tall before they are transplanted to 2 L or 4 L bags. As soon as they are transplanted they are moved to areas receiving full sun where they will be buffeted by winds,as in nature, and may be watered as needed.

The Dodonaea specimens are then transplanted to 10 L bags when they are around 1.2 m tall (Geldenhuys, J. pers. comm. 2011).

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Seedbank Quantity
Arundel Seedbank 383
Tin Capsule Seedbank 30
Total 413
Nursery Quantity
Sarah's nursery 10
Total 10

This table below shows how many plants we are trying to obtain for this species.

Site Area Quantity
Site #6 Delft 1
Total 1

Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

This is a bird-friendly species

It provides medicinal value

It is a pioneer species suitable for establishing the soil in bare areas


Easy to grow

Can be used as a hedge

Attracts butterflies

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