Dodonaea viscosa is a shrub/small tree native to tropical and subtropical Africa, Australia and India. This evergreen shrub is usually multi-stemmed and normally reaches a mature height between 2-8m tall. In South Africa, it grows well in a wide range of habitats from arid, semi-arid to high rainfall regions and is frost-hardy.

Leaves of this tree are hairless, variable and spirally arranged. They are borne towards the end of branches. The leaves secrete gummy exudate which gives them a shiny appearance. The bark is grey, finely fissured and peeling, revealing a red underbark. It bears inconspicuous pale green flowers without petals from April to July. Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. After flowering, the tree produces winged roundish capsules which change colour from yellow to reddish pink when mature.

This plant is used extensively to control soil erosion. It is planted as a decorative shrub in small gardens due to its shiny foliage and beautiful pink-red winged fruits. This shrub is also suitable for hedging since it responds well to pruning. It attracts many butterflies and birds to the garden. Since the Sand olive is a small tree, the root system is not classified as invasive. It is both wind and drought resistant.