Soapberry

 
 

Soapberry, or wing-leaf soapberry, is native to the southern United States, the Antilles, Central America, and South America. It reaches a height of 80 feet, with a trunk 2.5 feet in diameter. The leaves are up to 16 inches long and have up to six pairs of leaflets, the space between them is occupied by a wing or membrane. Flowers are minute and are grouped in terminal inflorescences up to 18 inches long. Fruits are about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and when ripe turn translucent,  the thick juice can be used as liquid soap. It flowers and produces fruits several times during the year. The generic name means Indian soap or soap of the Indies. The species name means soapy.


The photographed tree is in the northern sector of the Research and Development Center, and is the only member of the species in the campus.

Sapindus saponaria (Sapindaceae)