Botanical name: Sapindus trifoliatus Family: Sapindaceae (Soapberry family)
Synonyms: Sapindus laurifolius
South India Soapnut is a large tree, growing up to 25 m tall. Leaves are compound, 15-30 cm long. Leaflets are nearly stalkless, 2-3 pairs, 8-18 cm long, 5-7.5 cm broad, elliptic-lanceshaped, smooth, pointed tipped, base slightly oblique, terminal pair longest. Flowers are greenish-white, in terminal, slightly velvety panicles. Flower stalks are 3 mm long, velvety. Sepals are 5, slightly fused at the base, 4-5 mm long, ovate-oblong, velvety. Petals are 5, free, 5-6 mm long, lance-shaped to ovate, clawed, bristly. Disc is 5-lobed. Stamens are 8, free, filaments 2-3 mm long. Ovary is 3-locular, 3-lobed, ovoid, about 3 mm long, velvety, with 1 ovule in each locule. Fruit is 2-3 lobed, 1.3-2 cm long, velvety when young, hard and smooth when mature. Each cell has a 6-9 mm black, round seed, which is what is popular as a traditional washing soap. Flowering: November-January.
Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
The flower labeled South India Soapnut is ...