Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sapindus - Soapberries

A genus ( tribe ) of 13 species of ornamental and shade trees native to temperate and tropical regions of Asia and North America.
The clusters of small flowers are generally followed by fleshy berries that are rich in saponins. They are used as soap substitutes in some countries.
The Soapberries are very easy to grow and thrive on most soils as long as they are well drained and on a sunny site protected from excessive wind. Propagation can be from seed or cuttings taken during early summer. Seeds are best soaked in sulfuric acid for 60 minutes before sowing.

Sapindus drummondii ( Western Soapberry ) -
The Western Soapberry is a very beautiful underused landscape tree native to central U.S.A. It is rounded in habit and has strong limbs can withstand high winds. It is fast growing ( up to 3 feet per year ) to an eventual size of 50 x 50 feet or very rarely 80 x 80 feet with a trunk width of 4 feet. Outside its native range, in the east, it has grown to 35 x 40 feet in the humid southeast in Athens, Georgia ( Dirr ) and to 45 x 42 x 2 feet in New York City. The canopy is dense, broad and rounded and the branching is very strong.
The pinnate leaves, up to 18 inches in length, are composed of up to 18 leaflets, up to 5.5 x 2 ( rarely over 3.5 ) inches in size. The glossy mid-green foliage turns to glowing golden-yellow to almost orange during autumn. The foliage appears early in spring.
Its white conical flower panicles, up to 10 x 6 inches in size are borne during summer. They are followed by clusters of orange-yellow berries, up to 0.5 inches each, during fall persisting through winter.
The bark is scaly and reddish brown.
Hardy zones 5 to 9; this tree is long lived and tolerant of extreme heat as well as drought and alkaline soil. It is not bothered by pests, diseases, pollution, wind, urban conditions or deer either. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

* photos taken on Feb 2009 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Wash., DC

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.




* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.



* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* historic archive photo

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


Sapindus emarginatus
A very large, attractive shade tree native to India that can reach a maximum size of 130 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. The leaves are up to 8 inches in length and are composed of 6 leaflets, up to 7 inches in length.

Sapindus marginatus ( Florida Soapberry )
A medium size tree to 50 feet though rarely larger to 80 x 36 feet with a trunk diameter of 2.5 feet. It is native from southern Mississippi to southern South Carolina; south to northern Florida.
The leaves are similar to that of Sapindus drummondii and are up to 14 inches in length and are composed of 7 to 13 leaflets up to 6 x 3 inches. The foliage is deep green.
The flowers are in clusters up to 10 inches in length and the flowers and fruits are similar to that of Sapindus drummondii.
Hardy zones 8 to 9.

* photo of unknown internet source


Sapindus mukorossi ( Chinese Soapberry )
A deciduous or evergreen tree that is a widespread native in Asia from India through China and also Japan. It can reach 50 feet or more; some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 3 feet; 5 years- 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 inches; largest in North Carolina - 24 feet in Raleigh; largest on record - 82 x 90 feet with a trunk diameter of 5.2 feet.
The leaves are larger than Sapindus drummondii. They are up to 20 inches in length and are composed of 8 to 13 leaflets up to 8 x 3 inches in size. The foliage turns to intense golden-yellow during autumn.
The greenish-white flowers are borne on large terminal panicles, up to 13 inches long, during summer.
They are followed by fruits, up to 1 inches wide, that are yellow ripening to orange.
The fruits encase black seeds that can be used for beads and the fruits make a good soap substitute.
The bark is smooth and gray, peeling and gray-brown on very old trees.
Hardy zones 7 to 11 on deep, fertile, well drained soil. In zone 7 it is semi evergreen and is typically leafs out early and keeps its foliage well into December. Chinese Soapberry requires 40 + inches of average yearly rainfall. It is not prone to insect pests or disease.

* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.





* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* historic archive photo


Sapindus oahuensis ( Hawaiian Soapberry )
Native to Hawaii; this attractive tropical tree is the only Soapberry that has a non divided yellow midribbed green leaf ( to 10 x 5 inches ) and can reach up to 60 feet in height with a trunk diameter up to 1.5 feet. Additional info on this offsite link http://www.ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=11902&rid=2160

Sapindus saponaria ( Wingleaf Soapberry )
A fast growing, large, evergreen tree, reaching up to 80 feet, that is native to central & southern Florida as well as central Mexico south into the tropics. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet and possibly more; 20 years - 60 feet; largest on record - 106 x 85 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 feet. The canopy is dense and leafy.
The pinnately compound leaves, are up to 18 ( rarely over 13 ) inches in length. They are composed of 7 to 9 ( terminal leaflet sometimes missing ) smooth-margined, leathery leaflets, up to 7 inches in length. The leaf stem is winged ( unlike the other 2 North American species ). The bright green foliage turns to yellow before falling.
The small white flowers are borne in panicles, up to 12 inches in length, during the fall.
They are followed by round, orange berries, up to 0.8 inches wide, that make an excellent soap substitute when crushed.
The bark is gray, rough and scaly.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( knock to tolerate 18 F without damage ).

* photo taken on Jan 3 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida


RELATED TREES

Eurycorymbus cavaleriae
A medium size tree native to central China that can reach a maximum size of 66 feet.
The pinnate leaves, up to 18 inches in length, are composed of leaflets, up to 4.5 x 1.5 inches in size.
Hardy zones 7b to 9 tolerating as low as 0 F

Ungnadia speciosa ( Mexican-Buckeye )
A moderate growing, rounded, large shrub or small tree that is often multi stemmed, reaching around 15 x 15 feet that is native to southern New Mexico and including most of Texas except the far north and east, and south into northeast Mexico. The largest on record is 33 x 28 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The compound pinnate foliage up to 10 inches in length are composed of 5 to 13 ( rarely over 7 ) ovate leaflets up to 4 inches in length. The foliage resembles that of a Buckeye more than Sapindaceae family in which it belongs. The attractive foliage is glossy deep green, turning to intense golden-yellow during autumn.
In early spring flowers, up to an inch across, similar in appearance to that of the Redbud appear in showy clusters along the twigs in early spring before or with the emerging foliage.
The fruit are a hanging capsule up to 1.5 inches in length that contain 3 round hard seeds up to 0.5 inches across.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 ( tolerating 0 F ) in full sun on just about any well drained soil. It is tolerant of limestone soils and clay.

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

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