THE SOAPBERRY TREE
P. H. Rolfs
The soapberry tree belongs to the family Sapindaceae being
generically known as Sapindus and known under different specific names.
There are eleven species belonging to this genus occurring thruout the
tropics and sub-tropics, especially in Africa. Sapindus Mukorossi (S.
utilis?) is used in China, Japan and elsewhere in place of soap. Sapindus
Saponaria is grown to some extent in South Florida, Southern California
and in the West Indies. Sapindus parginatus, a larger tree, occurs in
Kansas to Texas and Ls cultivated occasionally in South Florida. In
Algeria the soapherry tree is said to have produced remunerative crops.
The fleshy portion around the seed contains a material, which on
-mixing with water forms a soapy like lather, hence its name. This mater-
ial may be used for cleansing, as with soap. Before the dye industry was
perfected to its present stage soaps were rather destructive to some of
the more delicate shades and the soapberry became a useful material for
washing the class of fabrics whose coloring would be injured by the soaps.
Seed of some of the species has also been employed for poisoning fish.
There are other plants belonging to this family which have the
same property. The sotpberry distributed largely in Florida nearly
fifteen years ago by E. Moule then of Jacksonville produced fruits-
which contain a large amount of this saponifying material.
Plants of the soapberry tree have been offered to the American
trade for a long time by the American nurserymen, especially those locate
in the Southeastern United States and in California. They are now offered
ed for sale by the Royal Palm Nursery at Oneco, Fla. and possibly by other
nurseries in the State. In 1907 Mr H. B. Stevens reported it as growing
wild around orange Lake and Mr. E. 0. Painter said it had been grown for
years at Tallahassee. (Proc. Fla. Hort. Soc. 1907 p 136)
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION,
TH. SiAPBIERY TMiE.
lThe .ioipbrry tree belongs to the family Sapindaooae
being generically lkoiwn as Sapindus and kIown under different
specific naues. There ar- oloven .,eoleo belonging to this
genus ooourring throughout the tropics Liand sub-tropios, especi-
ally in Africa. 3apiundiu iukorossi (C, utills.') is used in
China, Japan and eluowbere in place of aoap. bapinduB Saponaria
is grown to some extent in .outh Florida, Southern California
and in the neot indxis. japindLs .riarginatus, a larger tree,
occurs in .ailSaa to .Lexas a;nd ii cultiv--ted oooaalonally in
Iouth iloida. in Algoria the so.ipberry tree haa produced
'The fleshy portion around the aoed -containu sauonin, vwhioh
.aponifies on .mixing with wator, hence its name. 'This material may
be used for ole.:iaing cloth, is i6 the caso with ordin..ary -oap.
before the dye industry was perfected to itu present stage the
chemical soaps wore rather destruotive to jomo of the more delicate
shades and the soapberry boaume a useful material for washing the
class of fabrioe vwiose coloring would be injured by the ordinary
T',ere a'-e other pl;ats belonging to this family which
haVe the same property. The soapberry distributed largely in
Florida noarky fifteen years ago by i. Mloule of Jacksonville
produced fruits which contain a large amount of this saponifying
material, Seed of some of tho species has also been employed
for poisoning fish,
Plants of the uoapberry tree have'been offered to the
,: -, 9
- .7 -ls ll (I~
R O. ..
.aerloan trade for a long time b the uimerioan nurserymen, especially
those located in the ;;southo.astorn United At ..tos ,uld in California,
They are now offered for sale by the toyal Palm ilursery at Oneco,
Florida and possibly by othor nurfiories in the ,tate.
. . .