FoI
South India Soapnut   
Foto info
South India Soapnut
D Native Tree
Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: South India Soapnut, three-leaf soapberry, trijugate-leaved sop-nut • Hindi: फेनिल phenil, रिष्ट risht, रिष्टक rishtak • Manipuri: কেক্ৰূ Kekru • Marathi: फेनिल phenil, रिंठी rinthi, रिठा ritha • Tamil: புனலை punalai, பூந்தி punthi, பூவந்தி puvanti • Malayalam: ചവക്കായ് cavakkaay, പശക്കൊട്ടമരം pasakkottamaram, ഉറുവഞ്ചി uruvanchi • Telugu: కుంకుడుచెట్టు kunkuduchettu, ఫేనిలము phenilamu • Kannada: ಅಮ್ಟಳಕಾಯಿ amtalakaayi, ನೊರೆಕಾಯಿ norekaayi, ತೊಗಟೆ ಮರ togate mara • Bengali: ৰীঠা Ritha • Oriya: ରୀଠା Ritha • Konkani: रिठा ritha • Urdu: Phenil, ريٹھا Reetha • Assamese: হাইঠা aritha • Gujarati: અરીઠી arithi, અરીઠો aritho, અરીઠું arithu • Sanskrit: हृष्टः hrishtah, फेनका phenaka, फेनिल phenil, रिष्टः rishtah, रिष्टक rishtak, रीठा rita, सारिष्ट sarishta, ऊर्ध्वशोधनः urdhvashodhanah
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
Photographed at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.