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Useful Tropical Plants

Sapindus mukorossi

Gaertn.

Sapindaceae


This species is closely related to Sapindus saponaria (a species restricted to the Americas in the treatment we are following), and is treated as no more than a synonym of Sapindus saponaria by the Flora of China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

+ Synonyms

Sapindus detergens Roxb.

Sapindus utilis Trab.

Common Name: Chinese Soapberry

Sapindus mukorossi
Cultivated tree
Photograph by: LiChieh Pan
Creative Commons License
Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi Sapindus mukorossi

General Information

Chinese soapberry is a deciduous tree with a globose crown; it usually grows up to 12 metres tall, but can reach up to 25 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 60cm in diameter[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the journal Blumea, it is available as a PDF on the Interne
].
The plant has been used by local peoples for thousands of years as a source of saponins that can be used for cleaning clothes etc. It is also harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. The tree is often cultivated in gardens, by temples and along roadsides in China and the Indian subcontinent, both as an ornament and also as a source of soap and as a medicine[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The seeds are commonly sold in local markets[
439
Title
The Commercial Products of India.
Publication
 
Author
Watts. Sir George.
Publisher
John Murray, London.
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
A classic, with a comprehensive (as then known) listing of useful plants that were traded commercially at that time. It can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

The fruit pulp contains saponins and is used as a fish pioson[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
287
Title
Flora of Pakistan
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.efloras.org
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
As of 2006, there is not much information on habitats available, but it is being developed and promises to be an excellent resource.

Range

E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

Habitat

Open rocky places at elevations of 600 - 1,300 metres in Nepal[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height20.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the subtropical to the tropical zone, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is around 1,750mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Succeeds in a sunny position in any well-drained soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a deep, fertile, moist soil[
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the journal Blumea, it is available as a PDF on the Interne
], but plants are very tolerant of a wide range of soils, including those that are dry, stony or nutrient deficient[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A fast-growing tree[
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the journal Blumea, it is available as a PDF on the Interne
].

Edible Uses

The seeds are crushed and boiled to make a liquid that is added to certain kinds of Indian milk sweets, known as 'rasgullas'[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. This adds a frothy quality to the dessert[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The seeds have been used to bleach cardamom seeds, this treatment is reported to improve the flavour as well as the colour of the spice[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The fruit and seeds are regarded as a cure for epilepsy in northern India[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

A decoction of the fruit is used as an expectorant[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
A lather of the fruit is used to treat burns[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. The lather is also used as a soap to wash the hair and rid it of lice[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

The seeds are used in China to stop dental caries[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The fruit is considered to be haemolytic[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree has proved successful in the reforestation of eroded hill slopes at elevations below 900 metres in the
western Himalayas[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The seed kernels, which are a by-product of the oil extraction from the pericarp and shells, can be used as fertilizer[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The fruit is rich in saponins and is used as a soap substitute[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
372
Title
Flowers of India
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.flowersofindia.net/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A wed site of native Indian plants, plus cultivated and naturalized species. It has good quality photos and terse details on more than 3,000 species and cultivars.
]. It is squeezed, mixed with water, then used to clean clothes etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. Particularly useful for natural fibres and delicate materials, it is also used for restoring and brightening tarnished silverware[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The fruit is also used to wash the hair and control head lice; as an emulsifier in insecticides, for polishing jewellery[
287
Title
Flora of Pakistan
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.efloras.org
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
As of 2006, there is not much information on habitats available, but it is being developed and promises to be an excellent resource.
,
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
A surfactant obtained from the fruit pericarp has proved effective in the remediation of contaminated soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The seeds are used to make rosaries[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

The powdered seeds have insecticidal properties[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The seeds contain 23 % oil of which 92 % is triglycerides; the triglyceride fraction contained 30 % oleopalmito-arachidin glyceride, 13.3 % oleo-diarachidin glyceride and 56.7 % di-olein type glycerides such as dioleopalmitin, dioleo-stearin and dioleo-arachidin[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The heartwood is yellowish grey, the sapwood yellowish white[
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the journal Blumea, it is available as a PDF on the Interne
]. The wood is moderately hard, compact and close-grained[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is used for making furniture, sawing board, plywood, and boards[
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the journal Blumea, it is available as a PDF on the Interne
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - it can remain viable for at least 2 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Greenwood cuttings.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-10-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Sapindus+mukorossi>

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