Sapindus detergens Roxb.
A deciduous tree up to 20 m tall. Leaves pinnate, 15-35 cm long, glab¬rous; leaflets sub-sessile, 4-8 pairs, opposite to sub-opposite, lanceolate to oblong, 6-15 cm long, 3-5 cm broad, entire, acute to acuminate, oblique. Flowers sub-sessile, greenish-yellow in terminal, pubescent panicles; pedicel up to 4 mm in fruit; bract 1 mm long, subulate, margin glandular. Sepals unequal, c. 2 mm long, elliptic-oblong to ovate, margin ciliate, glandular at the tip. Petals 5, 3 mm long, lanceolate-ovate, clawed, ciliate, with 2 woolly scales on the claw. Disc 5-ridged, glabrous. Stamens 8, free; filament c. 3 mm long, lower half pubescent; anthers 0.5 mm long, oblong, non-functional in the female. Ovary sessile, 2-4 mm long, obovate, 3-locular, glabrous, rudimentary in the male flower; stigma 3-lobed. Berry globose, 1.5-2.5 cm long, hard or coriaceous when dry, yellowish-brown, 1-seeded, 2 undeveloped cocci at the base. Seed 1.4 cm in diameter, black to dark brown.
Fl. Per.: May -June.
Type: Probably described from Japan.
Distribution: Indigenous to China; cultivated in Japan, S.W. India, Bengal and W. Pakistan.
The ‘soap-nut’ tree is cultivated for its fruit, the pericarp of which is saponaceous and used for washing clothes and hair. It also makes a good roadside tree.