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 Trees Questions

Protecting live oaks when removing jasmine in Austin
December 03, 2010 - Thank you for your answer to my question of eliminating a 25-year-old bed of Asian Jasmine. I have another question. There is a stand of live oak trees in this bed and as we are digging out the jasmi...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Magnolia grandiflora in Las Vegas NV
January 17, 2011 - I live in Las Vegas, NV and have several Magnolia Grandiflora trees. They were doing well until 2 years ago when they started losing their leaves. The leaves turn brown or very dark on the edges. One ...
view the full question and answer

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
view the full question and answer

Viability of Cupressus macrocarpa in Arvada, Colorado
October 06, 2008 - Can I plant lemon cypress in Arvada CO, zone 5, as landscaping plant? Can't find zone information.
view the full question and answer

Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
January 01, 2009 - I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
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