Botanical Name: Dodonaea
Common Name: Sand Olive
Local Name: Mkengata
General Information: A thin stemmed indigenous shrub or upright small tree occasionally growing to 8m with a light crown, it can grow from sea level up to 2800m.
Habitat: This tree is widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics. They can grow in a variety of habitats ranging from riverine forests, rocky soil habitats or marginally arid areas.
Flowers: Small with shiny greenish-yellow sepals and no petals that appear in short dense leaf heads. Male flowers have pale brown stamens.
Fruits: Distinctive 2cm capsules, usually with 3 papery wings, that are sometimes inflated and in masses that resemble blossoms. The wings are greenish, pale brown or coral pink in appearance.
Leaves: Thin, narrow and stiffly erect up to 10cm long and widest towards the tip. They are light green and sticky when young with a pointed apex with a tapering base to a short stock.
Bark: Dark grey, fissured and peeling with branchlets that are rusty red and resinous.
Uses: The wood is hard and heavy, which makes it useful for making implement handles, walking sticks, fire wood and charcoal. Additionally, this particular tree is widely used as a hedge.
Medical: A decoction of leaves and twigs is used to remedy colds, flu, stomach troubles, measles, arthritis and sore throats. A root decoction is taken by women to stimulate milk production. Pounded leaves steeped in cold water and strained tend to serve as a remedy for diarrhea.
Propagation: Direct sowing of seeds, use of seedlings or wildings.