Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Sapindus saponaria L.
Wingleaf soapberry, Soapberry, Wild China tree
USDA Symbol: SASA4
A large shrub or tree with poisonous fruit.
The poisonous fruit, containing the alkaloid saponin, has been used as a soap substitute for washing clothes. Necklaces and buttons are made from the round dark brown seeds, and baskets are made from the wood, which splits easily. The common name, Wild China Tree, comes from the resemblance of its fruit clusters to the Chinaberry Tree (Melia azedarach), an Asian tree brought to North America for landscaping but now naturalized and considered invasive.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Flower:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
, TX Native Distribution:
Southern United States from Arizona west to Kansas, Texas, and Florida; to 6,000 (1,829 m). Native Habitat:
Moist soils along streams and on limestone uplands, in and bordering hardwood forests; westward in plains and mountains, grassland, upper desert, and oak woodland zones.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Sapindus drummondii or Rhus aromatica for Austria
May 07, 2006
I'm from Austria/Europe, and interested in some North American native plants specially. It would be great if you can help me with my two questions:
I read from different...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2009-10-25
Research By: TWC Staff