Nature has many surprises for those of us who stop and look. A recent surprise, for me, came from a closer look at these two hopbushes.
They were on the roadside by Ghost Gate Road, between Allora and Goomburra (the road with the interesting local legend and owl sculpture). We had stopped on a low ridge to look at the rather lovely view to the west, when the hopbushes attracted our attention with their showy display of bright red hops.
Who would have thought that they would be two different species?
The one on the left is Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustifolia. (See article below)
The other is Dodonaea tenuifolia. (Well, that's what I think it is. I had some trouble identifying it because the available descriptions don't all agree with each other. I'm open to further suggestions, if any reader would like to comment.)
Note that the leaf in the photo has six pairs of leaflets. This tended to vary considerably from leaf to leaf with some having as few as one leaflet, but six was fairly typical. The leaves were shiny, as shown, and close examination with a magnifying glass revealed that they were covered quite densely with white hairs.
The leaves were mostly 5-6cm long (including the petiole). They all have that rather large terminal leaflet, which seems to rather unusual for a Dodonaea.
The long-lasting, pretty, rose-pink, seed capsules of this plant have four wings, in contrast to the nearby D. viscosa subsp. angustifolia, plant whose capsules have three wings.
The plant has a neat growth habit, about 3m high, and with a trunk 60cm in diameter. It is a female plant (of course, as the male plants don't have seeds). We couldn't find any nearby plants, but there must be some, as the capsules, which are ripening this week (23 October) have seed in them. I collected some to be grown in the Crows Nest Community Nursery.
They were planted today, so you can look for them there in a few months' time.