En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 20, 2009

From: Montezuma, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Locating a Western Soapberry Tree for Montezuma IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I hope you can help. We homeschool in Indiana (Dad is a native Texan, transplanted). We are looking for someone with a healthy, mature & fruiting Western Soapberry Tree..sapindus drumondii.

ANSWER:

We're sorry, our site is not a forum, nor do we help people trade or buy plants; moreover, we never make public the names or e-mail addresses of those who contact us, for privacy reasons. 

We can refer you to our web page on Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry), where you will notice this plant is only native to areas farther south and west than Indiana, with Arkansas the closest place where it grows. Here are the Growing Conditions from that page:

"Conditions Comments: An attractive and hardy tree, useful as a specimen or in groves. Can become a large tree in deep soil. In shallow soil it often remains a small tree. The fruits are considered to be poisonous to humans although they produce a good lather in water and are used in Mexico as a laundry soap. Both females and males have fruits; males are showier. Soapberry often suckers and form groves. Tolerant of drought, wind, heat, poor soil, air pollution and other city conditions. Not affected by disease or insects. Currently difficult to find in the nursery trade."

You could try going to our National Supplier's Directory, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. But, as noted above, you are unlikely to find it in a commercial nursery. Even if you were looking for one just to see it, we doubt any are growing wild in your area. Many of the members of the Sapindus genus are tropical plants, and while var. drummondii is not, its survival range is USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9. Parke County, Indiana is in Zone 5. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
May 17, 2008 - How do I grow the lemon cypress in zone 7? I bought one today at Home Depot in Granbury,TX. It had no information. Should I put it in the shade or sun?
view the full question and answer

Secretions of fluid from crepe myrtles
June 09, 2008 - On my crepe myrtle tree I have dozens of 1/2-inch-long narrow bugs that seem to secrete tiny drops of fluid. They appear on the branches of the tree. Are these harmful to the tree? Do I need to do ...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees not toxic to dogs in Kempner TX
August 21, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, we are looking for shade trees to plant around our home in Kempner, Tx. I saw another family that asked a similar question but we have dogs and holly or oak trees are toxic (my...
view the full question and answer

Mountain ash seedlings in Yorkshire, England
May 25, 2008 - Is there any way I can stop Mountain Ash from seeding in my garden. This year in particular, I am absolutely overrun with the seedlings and once they get a hold they are difficult to remove.
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center