Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
   Sapindaceae -- The Soapberry Family Bibliography
      Sapindus saponaria

Common name(s): soapberry, a`e, manele
General Information
DistributionOccurring in Mexico and South America west across the Pacific Basin on a number of islands to New Caledonia, also in Africa.In the Hawaiian Islands, indigenous to Hawai`i.

Click here for detailed USGS map by Jonathan Price
Large, often seasonally deciduous tree to 25 m tall, bark pale brown, fissured and falling off in large scales from mature trees.
Leaves paripinnately compound, short-petiolate; leaflets 3‒6 pairs, opposite or alternate, chartaceous, oblong-elliptic, slightly falcate, 6‒16 cm long, 2‒4.5 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface moderately tomentose to puberulent, margin entire, slightly undulate, apex acuminate, base rounded, rachis winged in young leaves; petiole 3‒5 cm long.
Inflorescences a terminal, tomentose panicle to 10‒20 cm long. Flowers on pedicel 1‒3.5 mm long; sepals unequal, outer ones ovate, 1.5‒1.8 mm long, pubescent at least at base, inner ones suborbicular, ca. 2.5 mm long, pubescent, minutely ciliate; petals subequal, obovate to suborbicular-obovate, strongly concave, ca. 2 mm long, ciliate; staminal filaments ca. 1 mm long, pubescent at base; ovary 2‒3-locular, glabrous, stigmatic lobes blunt.
Fruit 1.7‒2 cm long, pericarp coriaceous, translucent, deep yellow or red when ripe.
Seed dark reddish brown to black, 1‒1.2 cm long, testa without a tuft of hairs at base.
Nancy Khan