Monday, July 2, 2012

Western Soapberry Tree

The Western Soapberry tree (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) is native to New Mexico. It grows wild from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana westward through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Mexico. The fruit of the Western Soapberry tree is a drupe.

Mature fruits are translucent, amber colored, and contain a black seed.

The mature fruit without the seed

will produce a good lather with water

and has been used as a soap substitute.

Fruits persist on the trees through winter. The Western Soapberry tree can grow 1′-2′ annually reaching 25′-30′ tall and wide making it a good sized shade tree. Fall leaf color is an attractive golden yellow. Currently, there are no improved varieties of the Western Soapberry Tree.

It grows well on the alkaline soils of New Mexico and is very tolerant of heat and drought once established.
This tree is rarely affected by disease or insect pests making it an ideal specimen tree for your yard or landscape. Soapberry leaves are pinnately compound with many smaller leaflets.

The Western Soapberry tree occasionally suckers

and can sometimes form groves.  Western Soapberry trees produce flowers in large, cream colored clusters from late May into early July.

The maturing fruit or Soapberries are then found in small clusters throughout the canopy.

The Western Soapberry tree grows best on a well-drained soil but will also grow on clay soils. Soapberry Trees are best grown with low to regular water in full sun and are Hardy to USDA Zone 5.

Experience the Soapberry Tree via Slide Show by clicking on the link below:

Contact Trees That Please Nursery for more information and pricing.

Photos & Narrative By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

1 comment:

  1. A great tree...would like to see every tree of heaven replaced with a Soapberry...