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

Saturday - May 05, 2012

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Diseases and Disorders, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Need to find a place to buy Western Soapberry in Paris, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Where is the closest place to purchase a Western Soapberry tree?

ANSWER:

The Western Soapberry Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (Western soapberry) is a handsome shade tree that is native to Texas and can grow up to 50 ft tall in optimal conditions. However there are two drawbacks: the seeds contain saponins which make them toxic (Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, and they are susceptible to the Soapberry Borer, Agrilus prionurus.

I was not successful in finding a commercial source for the tree in Northeast Texas, but these two sites on the web offer the tree for sale: forrest farm.com and oikos treecrops.com..
There are lots of sites that offer the seeds for sale to be used as a laundry detergent. The cactusstore.com sells seeds for germination. The NPIN Profile page has instructions for propagation. Be very careful if you use sulfuric acid for scarification. This link  explains scarification and describes several different methods.

A look at the USDA distribution map for Western Soapberry reveals that the tree occurs in Fannin and Hunt Counties, so you may be able to collect your own seeds. There could be even be some in Lamar County. Your AgriLife Extension Agent could probably help you with this.

 

From the Image Gallery


Western soapberry
Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Are globe mallows (Sphaeralcea spp.) harmful to dogs
May 20, 2010 - My dogs eat the wild globe mallow plants in my yard. Could that be harmful to them?
view the full question and answer

Native plants that will grow under alleopathic black walnut
March 03, 2007 - I have a large, beautiful black walnut tree in my yard and have trouble growing the annuals, begonia, impatients, etc., that I have always grown. They don't do well in the ground and I have resorted...
view the full question and answer

Plants safe for donkeys in Foristell MO
August 22, 2009 - I am looking for a plant that can grow next to a farm fence, preferably the length of the fence approx 75 ft. in a long row, one that miniature donkeys can safely eat, if they so choose. I like your ...
view the full question and answer

Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
November 14, 2008 - I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
view the full question and answer

Allergy-causing plant in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area
March 17, 2011 - Do you know what is growing (or floating in the air) in the DFW metroplex now, but not growing or floating the rest of the year? I have a 3 year old that has gotten extremely itchy this time of the ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center