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 Soapberry family
Longan fruits
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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > Magnoliophyta > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > Magnoliopsida > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Sapindales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Sapindaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Sapindaceae (from the genus Sapindus, a contraction of the Latin sapo-indicus, Indian soap). Soap-Berry Family. Fig. 35. Trees or shrubs, rarely herbs, often climbing: leaves usually alternate, mostly compound, sometimes ternately, sometimes pinnately decompound: flowers unisexual or polygamous, regular or irregular (i.e. obliquely unsymmetrical), small; sepals 4-5, imbricated or rarely valvate; petals 4-5, small or wanting, usually with scales or hairs at the base inside: disk well developed, situated between the petals and the stamens (extrastaminal) ; stamens usually 10 in 2 whorls, more or less united at the base; ovary superior, mostly 3-celled and deeply 3-lobed; ovules typically 1 in each cell; style 1: fruit very diverse, a firm or bladdery capsule, a berry, nut, or winged fruit; seeds without endosperm.

The 118 genera and about 1,000 species are of tropical distribution. Only one species reaches northward as far as Kansas. The family is closely related to the Staphyleaceae, Hippocastanaceae, and Aceraceae, which see for differences; and more distantly to the Celastraceae. The small flowers, usually appendaged petals, 10 stamens, extra-staminal disk, and 3-celled, few-seeded fruit are usually distinctive.

The climbing Sapindaceae often have very peculiar stems in which many separate cambium rings have taken part. This renders the cross-section very peculiar, making it appear sometimes as a bundle of woody ropes tied together, with bark between them.

The Sapindaceae are of considerable economic importance. The fruits of many are used locally for food, sometimes the flesh of the fruit, sometimes the aril being of importance. The seeds of Sapindus and other genera are often roasted and eaten as food. Oil is obtained from the seeds of others. Some are used locally for medicine. The seeds and other parts of many species are very poisonous, the fruits of species of Sapindus being used to poison fish. The juice of Paullinia pinnata (cururu) is used by savages in Guiana to poison their arrows. The Lechcheuquana bee collects honey from Serjania lethalis which, when eaten even in small quantities, produces raving madness or even death. The bark and berries of many species (e.g., the soap tree, Sapindus) contain saponin which reacts like soap, on which account they are used for washing. Yellow and black dyes, used as cosmetics, are obtained from certain species. The very hard wood of certain Sapindaceae is much prized for timber. The hard, spherical, black seeds of Sapindus Saponaria are strung as beads.

There are 15 or more genera of true Sapindaceae grown in America. Koelreuteria (Varnish Tree) is hardy and ornamental. Cardiospermum (Balloon Vine) is a tender annual with queer fruit. Xanthoceras is a hardy ornamental tree. Paullinia is a greenhouse climbing shrub. The following are grown only in the southern states or California: Greyia; Melicocca (Spanish Lime); Blighia (Akee Tree); Dodonaea; Ungnadia (Mexican or Spanish Buckeye); Sapindus (Soapberry).

The following cultivated genera are now referred to other families: Melianthus (Melianthaceae); Aesculus (Hippocastanaceae); Acer (Aceraceae); Ptaeroxylon (Meliaceae); Staphylea (Staphyleaceae); Euscaphis (Staphyleaceae) ; Turpinia (Staphyleaceae).CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


See: List of Sapindaceae genera


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