Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 20, 2009

From: Montezuma, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Locating a Western Soapberry Tree for Montezuma IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I hope you can help. We homeschool in Indiana (Dad is a native Texan, transplanted). We are looking for someone with a healthy, mature & fruiting Western Soapberry Tree..sapindus drumondii.

ANSWER:

We're sorry, our site is not a forum, nor do we help people trade or buy plants; moreover, we never make public the names or e-mail addresses of those who contact us, for privacy reasons. 

We can refer you to our web page on Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry), where you will notice this plant is only native to areas farther south and west than Indiana, with Arkansas the closest place where it grows. Here are the Growing Conditions from that page:

"Conditions Comments: An attractive and hardy tree, useful as a specimen or in groves. Can become a large tree in deep soil. In shallow soil it often remains a small tree. The fruits are considered to be poisonous to humans although they produce a good lather in water and are used in Mexico as a laundry soap. Both females and males have fruits; males are showier. Soapberry often suckers and form groves. Tolerant of drought, wind, heat, poor soil, air pollution and other city conditions. Not affected by disease or insects. Currently difficult to find in the nursery trade."

You could try going to our National Supplier's Directory, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. But, as noted above, you are unlikely to find it in a commercial nursery. Even if you were looking for one just to see it, we doubt any are growing wild in your area. Many of the members of the Sapindus genus are tropical plants, and while var. drummondii is not, its survival range is USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9. Parke County, Indiana is in Zone 5. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tall, narrow evergreen for front of house in Flower Mound, TX
June 21, 2009 - Please recommend a tall, narrow evergreen to be placed at the front corner of my house.
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Kempner, Texas
November 29, 2013 - I just moved to Kempner , TX and would like to plant a couple of fruit trees in my 1 1/4 ac yard. I would like to plant a species that will do well and produce edible fruit. Any assistance will be app...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating black locust volunteers in Rockville MD
September 27, 2011 - I am a landscape designer whose client has a very large, mature black locust in her front yard. Not surprisingly, she also has multitudes of black locust volunteers popping up all over her yard. The...
view the full question and answer

Small tree for Huntingdon Beach, CA
November 09, 2008 - I have the exact same question as a previous tree question from Huntington Beach California. When I click on the answer it brings up another question. I would like to know the answer given for the 10 ...
view the full question and answer

Will lilacs survive in Houston?
October 26, 2009 - My wife loves the smell of Lilacs (we're originally from Oregon), but we don't see any here in Houston. Is it possible to get lilacs to survive in Southeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.