Sapindus saponaria

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Wingleaf Soapberry


Plant Specifics

Size:20-30 ft in northern Florida, 30-40 ft in southern Florida.
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White,green
Fruit Color:Brown
Phenology:Deciduous in north Florida; evergreen in south Florida. Blooms in spring. Fruit ripens late summer-fall.
Noted for:Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Shade tree or specimen tree. Leaves may be evergreen in south Florida. Can be used as a street tree.
Considerations:Seeds are apparently poisonous.
Availability:Native nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:Calcareous (high pH)



Used by wildlife for cover, food.  


Flowers attract bees.

Native Habitats:Hammocks, coastal scrub, shell mounds, along streams and on limestone uplands.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Saponin (extracted from the fruit) is an antimicrobial detergent. The plant has been used as a cure for a variety of ailments including skin problems, migraine headaches, epilepsy, and tumors. Recent research (2011) appears to support the folk-medicine use as an antivenom (please, get to a doctor immediately if bitten by a venomous snake -- don't self medicate!) 
General Comments:Range likely includes all of Florida.  It is sporadic in northern Florida.