Sapindus saponaria is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree native to the Americas. Common names include wingleaf soapberry, western soapberry, jaboncillo, sulluku and manele and a'e (Hawaiian). Its genus name, "Sapindus", comes from the Latin, meaning Indian soap, and its specific epithet means "soapy."
Sapindus saponaria, commonly called wingleaf soapberry or winged soapberry, is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree with an open-rounded crown. It is native to Florida and Georgia plus a large number of subtropical to tropical areas including parts of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Hawaii.
It typically grows to 20-40' (infrequently to 80’) tall. It is noted for its (a) often glossy, pinnately-compound, medium green leaves (to 8-13” long) with 7-15 untoothed, lanceolate leaflets (each to 2-4” long), (b) creamy-white to yellowish-white flowers (1/8” wide) which bloom in late spring (May-June) in large open panicles to 10-12" long, (c) panicles of usually one-seeded, grape-like fruits (ornamentally attractive but toxic if ingested) which ripen in fall (September-October) to yellow-brown to orange-brown sometimes further aging to near black, (d) yellow fall foliage color, and (e) fissured gray bark divided into scaly plates.
Although toxic and inedible, the fruits can be mashed in water to produce a saponin-rich soapy lather which can be used as a soap, as suggested by the common name of soapberry.
Leaf midribs on the within species are typically winged, as also suggested by the common name. Non-winged versions from northern Florida and Georgia are considered to be species plants, but have been named Sapindus marginatus with a common name of Florida soapberry by some experts.