Sapindus saponaria

Primary tabs

Sapindus saponaria


Tree to 5 m tall. Stems glabrous or nearly so, terete, striate, lenticellate. Leaves paripinnate; petiole plus rachis 10-20 cm long, nearly terete, striate, sometimes broadly winged; leaflets 2-6 pairs, alternate or opposite, chartaceous, glabrous or abaxially puberulentwith minute papillae, lanceolate, oblong-elliptic, ovate-lanceolate, or falcate, 5-13 × 2-5 cm, the base asymmetrical, one side acute the other obtuse, the apex acuminate to long-acuminate, the margins entire; venation prominent on abaxial surface; tertiary veins reticulate. Thyrses axillary or distal, 9-20 cm long, paniculate; axes tomentulose, slightly angled. Flowers in compound, sessile dichasia; pedicels ca. 1 mm long, tomentose. Calyx white, glabrous, sepals concave, rounded at apexciliate on margins, outer sepals 1.2-1.5 mm long, inner sepals 1.7-2.2 mm long; petals white, rhombate, clawed, ca. 1.2 mm long, ciliate on margins, without appendage; disc cup-shaped, 8-lobed, ca. 1.2 mm tall, glabrous; stamens 8, the filaments of unequal length, tomentose at base; ovary ovoid, glabrous, stigma stout, unbranched, papillate at narrowed apex. Fruits green to yellowish, 1- to 2-coccate, with 1 or 2 rudimentary cocci, glabrous, the cocci globose, 1.5-2 cm long. Seeds nearly globose, exarillate, dull black, with minute linear hilum and scattered wooly hairs at base.


Neotropics present, Old World tropics present
Widespread in the Neotropics, introduced into Old World tropics (GU: 1; SU: 2; FG: 1).

Common Name

English (Guyana): soapwood; English (Suriname): sopo sirie