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Dodonea viscosa 'Purpurea',
Varnish Leaf

Varnish Leaf will tolerate dry sandy or rocky soils, salt spray, windy areas, and drought conditions. It favors areas that receive full sun and is often cultivated in loamy or sandy soils. One may use Varnish Leaf as a specimen due to its nice fruit display. The plant is also attractive when it is not in fruit. Planted 5 to 8 feet apart, Varnish Leaf makes a nice hedge or background plant, and it is very effective when employed as a screen. It is can also be grown in fence rows and is interesting when espaliered. It is a useful plant that is underutilized.

The shiny red leaves of this shrub have a varnished appearance that gives this plant its most widely used common name. The Varnish Leaf is a fast growing, broad-leaved, evergreen shrub that can grow 10- to 15-feet tall. It is most commonly seen at about 6- to 10-feet tall.

The "varnished" leaves of this plant have a resinous coating that is a protection against water loss, and this allows the plants to be exceptionally drought tolerant. Leaves vary in shape from spatulate to elliptic or obovate. Margins of the leaves are often turned under. Greenish yellow flowers are without true petals and appear in terminal clusters that are 3 inches in length.

This shrub blooms in the spring and fall, and flowers on the same plant may be male, female, or perfect. The most outstanding part of this plant is the pendent fruit. These emerge green, turn yellow green, then pink and red, and then brown as they mature. The three-parted seedpods have 3 or 4 rounded wings.

Varnish Leaf Photos

None available currently...