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Dodonea viscosa var. angustifolia


Water Needs

low; moderate; drought-hardy

Dodonea viscosa var. angustifolia
Shrub medium; Shrub large
Sand Olive

4 m 


Light Conditions





lowers: Pale green flowers with a pale yellow tint; April - August; autumn winter

Garden Situation

sun; light shade; semi-shade; screen; dry soils; sandy soils; small area trees; slope bank; wildlife butterflies; fast-growing easy-care; clay soils;


fynbos; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; hot dry; grassland; bushveld; urban streets


western cape; thicket; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna; karoo

Rain Season

Summer; winter

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The Sand Olive is usually a multi-stemmed shrub of about 5m high, but it can be trained into a small tree by removing the lower branches. However, this does take away one of its more valuable contributions to a garden: that of a wind screen.  Foliage is quite dense which assists in filtering the wind and its long narrow leaves and flexible stems means it will stand up to strong winds without the leaves being shredded or any branches being snapped. Plants are evergreen with attractive light green glossy leaves and a lighter shade underneath; these show up well against the pale grey bark. The pale green with a pale yellow tint, spangle the shrub from April to August, (autumn to winter), blend with rather than standing out from the foliage. These are then followed by drooping bunches of yellow to red fruits which are wind pollinated: the papery wings allow them to travel on the wind to other suitable areas. It is a fast growing shrub requiring well - a drained, sandy soil, hence the common name, but it will establish itself best if watered well for the first few couple of months. Once established it needs very little if any, supplementary watering; all in all, a quite unfussy plant. In the garden, it is a popular nesting site, and flowers attract many butterflies. The roots are great for binding soils helping to control erosion. Mix with waterwise groundcovers that grow in sandy soils; Gazania rigens and krebsiana, succulents like the Vygie family, Kleinia fulgens and specific Aloe species. Include other forms and textures with strappy leaves of the Tulbaghia family for example. For a wind screen, plant a few close together, and mix with other good screening shrubs to add diversity. A mixed screen is the most effective wind, sound, and privacy barrier.

Dodonea viscosa var. angustifolia
Dodonea viscosa var. angustifolia
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