soapberry

FAMILY: Sapindaceae | GENUS: SAPINDUS

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Evergreen
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

Group of about 12 species of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs from tropical and subtropical parts of the world; the two described here are both U.S. natives. All of these plants are tough and easy to grow. Saponin, a substance contained in the berries, lathers when mixed with waterhence the common name.

florida soapberry

sapindus marginatus

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9.
  • Native to the South Atlantic coast, from South Carolina to Florida.
  • Grows 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
  • Bright green leaves to 14 inches long, each with 7 to 13 lance-shaped leaflets; turn golden in fall.
  • Clusters of small white flowers in spring.

WESTERN SOAPBERRY

sapindus saponaria drummondii(Sapindus drummondii)

  • Deciduous.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to southwestern U.S. and Mexico.
  • Attractive round-headed, spreading tree to 2530 feet tall and eventually as wide, with yellowish green, 10- to 15 inches-long leaves divided into many leaflets.
  • In early summer, tiny yellowish white flowers bloom in 8- to 10 inches-long clusters; these are followed by beadlike, 12 inches., orange-yellow fruit that turns black by winter.
  • Fall foliage is a lovely orange-yellow.
  • Makes a good shade or street tree, thanks to its tolerance for adverse conditions: poor, dry, rocky, alkaline soil; polluted air; wind; occasional drought.
  • Fruit drop and self-sown seedlings can cause problems.
  • Narrow Leaf has narrower leaves than the species.

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