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 Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Plant called Jesus in a Manger from Florence AL
June 10, 2010 - Where can I find a plant called "Jesus in a Manger"?
view the full question and answer

Horse herb available by seed?
September 25, 2007 - I live in Hays County in Texas, and I would like to plant horse herb on a slope that is now covered with a variety of tall grasses. Is horse herb available in seed form? If so, how may I order some? S...
view the full question and answer

Willows native to Wisconsin
July 01, 2005 - I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Paronychia virginica in Virginia
May 16, 2007 - Greetings, I noticed that you have Paronychia virginica for sale in your spring plant sale. Despite the plant sharing the name of my fair state, I've been unable to find a source for it. Given...
view the full question and answer

Wild hydrangeas north of Atlanta GA
June 29, 2006 - There are wild hydrangeas in my area - just north of Atlanta GA. There is a particular type, though, that I have only seen in the more mountainous counties of GA. The flower cluster is flat, with tiny...
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