Sapindus

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Sapindus

 

(soapberry), a genus of plants of the family Sapindaceae. They are evergreen or deciduous trees. The pinnate leaves are alternate, and the flowers are in terminal or axillary panicles. There are about 15 species, distributed in the tropics of Asia and America. The fruits, which contain up to 38 percent saponins, are used as soap. Soapberries are cultivated in tropical and warm countries as ornamentals and for their saponins. Three species— Sapindus saponaria, S. mucorossii, and the winter-hardy American species S. drummondii —are grown in the USSR, on the Black Sea shore of the Caucasus and, less frequently, in Transcaucasia and Middle Asia. The genus’s Russian common name, myl’noe derevo, is sometimes used to designate the goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) of the same family, which grows in East Asia and contains saponins in its bark.

REFERENCE

Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
References in periodicals archive ?
For use as a laundry detergent, you place a few of the dried "nuts" (weighing a half ounce or so total) into a small muslin bag (usually available where soapnuts are sold), tie it closed, and place it directly into the drum of your washing machine (not the detergent drawer) along with your laundry.
Soapnuts can be ground into a powder and a liquid cleaner is also available (or you can make your own; most online retailers provide simple instructions).
Some people object to the vinegarlike smell of soapnuts, but it doesn't seem to transfer to your laundry.
Be sure to purchase your soapnuts from a reputable supplier.
Traditionally, soapnuts have been harvested from trees grown in the wild on public lands in the Himalayas; these are the Saponius mukorossi variety and are the best quality.
If you don't know the source of the soapnuts you're buying, look for ones that are certified organic by USDA or EcoCert because the product is ripe for greenwashing.
Some brands sell starter kits of some soapnuts enclosed in the cloth bag in which they will be used.
If you prefer a liquid soap, buy the soapnuts and make your own liquid.
Since virtually all commercially available soapnuts are presently grown in the Himalayas, the fuel required for shipping to consumers in other countries greatly diminishes the product's green credentials.
If you live in the right climate or have a greenhouse, and some seeds do show up in your purchased supply of soapnuts, try planting them.