General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Moderately alkaline (7.9 – 8.4)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 30 to 40 feet
Plant Spread: 25 to 30 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: shiny, orange or yellowish-brown fruits resemble marbles
Fruiting Time: Year Round
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish-white, Yellowish-white, Grayish-white
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Late fall or early winter
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Beach Front
Street Tree
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Shade Tree
Medicinal Herb
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: The seeds contained in the fruit are also poisonous
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Soapberry
  • Wild Chinaberry
  • Amole
  • Wingleaf Soapberry
  • Wild China Tree
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Sapindus saponaria
  • Synonym: Sapindus marginatus
  • Synonym: Sapindus saponaria subsp. saponaria
  • Synonym: Sapindus microcarpus

Photo Gallery

Date: c. 1902
illustration by C. E. Faxon from Sargent's 'Silva of North Americ

photo credit: David Eickhoff

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