En EspaÑol

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 Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Identification of night blooming Cereus
April 04, 2007 - My Grandmother used to have a plant she called Nightly Series, that bloomed only at night. Can you help me find out where to buy one?
view the full question and answer

Native replacements for English ivy in Atlanta
April 17, 2009 - What to plant instead of English Ivy in Atlanta, Georgia. We have a nice lot with trees in back of our lot. To protect our trees there I'm clearing out the ubiquitous English ivy (lots of gardens i...
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives for non-natives
December 07, 2007 - Is there a way to search this website using an invasive plant species to get a list of native plant alternatives? ie. search Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese Silvergrass) and get the native alternative Sa...
view the full question and answer

Sources of Rosa acicularis for research
March 25, 2007 - I am a professor at the University of Nebraska and would like to obtain some Rosa acicularis plants to do research with. Can you tell me how to purchase them. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Locating Rudbeckia cultivar in San Antonio
April 16, 2010 - Hello, I’m searching for one-gallon plants of Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa “Viette’s Little Suzy” to purchase either from a San Antonio or area nursery or through a mail order Texas Grower. Is th...
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