Plant: tree; to 6(-15) m high, deciduous, monoecious, or sometimes with perfect flowers, the bark rough, fissured, gray to gray-brown; buds, young leaves, and young twigs densely pubescent Leaves: mostly even-pinnately compound, 10-28 cm long; leaflets (4-) 6-19, lanceolate-obovate, falcate, 4-12 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide; acuminate to obtuse, mainly subglabrous above, thinly pubescent on the veins, margins, and lower surface, more densely pubescent along the base of the midvein below and along the 1-2 mm long petiolules INFLORESCENCE: 15-26 cm long, racemose to paniculate, villous, many-flowered; pedicels 0.5-2 mm long; bracts 1 mm long, yellowish green to reddish brown, subulate Flowers: 2-6 mm long, 5-8 mm wide; sepals 5, obtuse to apiculate, 1-3 mm long, the margins usually ciliate, often pubescent externally; petals 5, 3-4 mm long, white, obtuse to apiculate, most with 2 usually linear scales above the claw, the scales glabrous to pubescent, the claw mostly with long pubescence internally, the margins ciliate (at least at the base); stamens 8, the filaments 1-3(-5) mm long (shorter in pistillate flowers),with long hairs on the lower 1/2-3/4, the anthers ca. 0.5 mm long; pistil glabrous or with a few hairs, the ovary ca. 1 mm long, the style ca. 1 mm long, the stigma 3-lobed Fruit: FRUITS 1-1.5 cm in diam., with 2 rudimentary aborted mericarps at the base (rarely more than one mericarp matures); pulp yellow-amber, translucent, turning reddish brown to black when dry; SEEDS globose, 8-10 mm long, smooth, reddish black Misc: Riparian, canyonsides, desert-grassland, and oak-woodland; 760-1710 m (2500-5600 ft); May-July Notes: Petals hairy and crested at base of the blade.Filaments hairy.Fruits with amber colored, translucent pulp.Tree with a broad, dense crown and dark grey bark. References: Salywon, Andrew. 1999. Sapindaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).Kearney & Peebles; Arizona Flora. McDougall; Seed plants of Northern Arizona. ASU specimans.
Salywon 1999, Benson and Darrow 1981
Common Name: wingleaf soapberry Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FACU General: Trees reaching 6 m high, deciduous, monoecious, sometimes with perfect flowers, rough bark, fissured, gray to gray-brown; buds, young leaves, with young twigs densely pubescent. Leaves: Mostly even-pinnately compound, 10-28 cm long; leaflets 6-19 , lanceolate-obovate, falcate, 4-12 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide, acuminate to obtuse, thinly pubescent on the veins, margins, and lower surface, more densely so along the midvein below. Flowers: Racemose to paniculate, 15-26 cm long, villous, many-flowered; pedicels 0.5-2 mm long, bracts 1 mm long, yellowish green to reddish brown; flowers 2-6 mm long, 5-8 mm wide, 5 sepals, margins often ciliate; petals 5, mostly with 2 linear scales above the claw. Fruits: Berry 1-1.5 cm in diameter, only one mericarp usually matures, pulp yellow-amber, translucent, reddish black when mature. Ecology: Found in riparian areas, canyons in both desert-grassland and oak-grasslands from 2,500-5,500 ft (762-1676 m); flowers May-July. Distribution: Most of the southern US, from AZ east to SC, north to MO; south through the Greater Antilles, MEX. C. Amer. and S. America. Notes: Distinguished as being an erect, slender shrub to a large tree; older bark that peels in rectangles; and especially the pinnate leaves with lanceolate, falcate leaflets and the leaf material (wings) extending along the rachis. These characters can distinguish from other similar taxa, Juglans, sumac and Aillanthus. Ethnobotany: Used to make beads, the sap was applied to wounds, and the wood was used for arrows. Etymology: Sapindus is thought to derived from Latin sapinus for a type of fir or pine tree, while saponaria comes from the Latin sapo, or soap. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015