Taxon: Sapindus saponaria L.

Genus: Sapindus
Family: Sapindaceae
  Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Nomen number: 33090
Place of publication: Sp. pl. 1:367. 1753
Name Verified on: 07-Nov-1985 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last Changed: 23-Aug-1994
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Miami (MIA)
Accessions: 17 in National Plant Germplasm System

Common names:

  • soapberry  (Source: Hortus 3) - English
  • soaptree  (Source: F PuertoR) - English
  • southern soapberry  (Source: Trees US) - English
  • wing-leaf soapberry  (Source: Trees US) - English
  • bois de panama  (Source: Dict Rehm) - French
  • savonnier  (Source: Dict Rehm) - French
  • Seifenbaum  (Source: Dict Rehm) - German
  • saboeira  (Source: Dict Rehm) - Portuguese
  • fruta-de-sabão  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • jequiriguaçú  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • pau-de-sabão  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • sabão-de-macaco  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • sabão-de-soldado  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • sabonete  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • saboneteira  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • jaboncillo  (Source: Dict Gard) - Spanish
  • såpbärsträd  (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn) - Swedish

Economic Importance:

  • Environmental: ornamental (fide Zander ed13)
  • Materials: beads (fide Bot Beads World; as,)
  • Materials: chemicals (saponins used as emulsifier & cleanser fide Hortus 3)
  • Medicines: folklore (fide Herbs Commerce ed2)
  • Vertebrate poisons: mammals (fide Lampe & McCann, as Sapindus drummondii)

Distributional Range:


  • Northern America

    • : Mexico
    • Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Florida, - Georgia
  • Southern America

    • Brazil: Brazil
    • Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Cuba; Dominica; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Hispaniola; Jamaica; Martinique; Montserrat; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Vincent and Grenadines
    • Central America: Belize; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Nicaragua; Panama
    • Northern South America: Suriname; Venezuela
    • Southern South America: Argentina; Paraguay
    • Western South America: Bolivia; Colombia; Peru

  • Naturalized:

    . natzd. elsewhere


    . also cult.


  • Adams, C. Flowering plants of Jamaica. 1972 (F Jam)
  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman & M. Hjertson Våra kulturväxters namn - ursprung och användning. Formas, Stockholm (Handbook on Swedish cultivated and utility plants, their names and origin). 2009 (Vara kulturvaxt namn)
  • Encke, F. et al. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage. 1984 (Zander ed13)
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. (pers. comm.)
  • Huxley, A., ed. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. 1992 (Dict Gard)
  • Kearney, T. H. & R. H. Peebles Arizona flora, ed. 2. 1969 (F Ariz)
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Hortus third. 1976 (Hortus 3)
  • Liogier, H. A. Descriptive flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. 1984- (F PuertoR)
  • Little, E. L., Jr. Checklist of United States trees, Agric. Handb. 541. 1979 (Trees US)
  • Macbride, J. F. et al., eds. Flora of Peru. 1936-1971; new ser. 1980- (F Peru)
  • McGregor, R. L. et al. (The Great Plains Flora Association) Flora of the Great Plains. 1986 (F GPlains)
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker Herbs of commerce, ed. 2. 2000 (Herbs Commerce ed2)
  • Núñez Meléndez, E. Plantas medicinales de Puerto Rico: Folklore y fundamentos científicos. 1982 (Pl Med PR)
  • Pittier, H. F. et al. Catálogo de la flora venezolana. 1945-1947 (L Venez)
  • Rehm, S. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. 1994 (Dict Rehm)
  • Reitz, R., ed. Flora ilustrada catarinense. 1965- (F SCatarin)
  • Smith, R. J. Botanical beads of the world (on-line resource). (Bot Beads World)
  • Spichiger, R., ed. Flora del Paraguay. 1985- (F Parag)
  • Standley, P. C. Trees and shrubs of Mexico. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 23:1-1721. 1920 (TreesS Mex)
  • Standley, P. C. & J. A. Steyermark Flora of Guatemala. 1946-1976 (F Guat)
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. Flora of tropical East Africa. 1952- (F TE Afr)
  • Wiersema, J. H. & B. León World economic plants: a standard reference (on-line edition) [medicinal plants only]. (World Econ Pl Med)
  • Woodson, R. E. & R. W. Schery, eds. Flora of Panama. 1943-1980 (F Panama)


Check other web resources for Sapindus saponaria L. :


  • Fruit: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Seed: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Seed: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image