Sapindus emarginatus Vahl, Sp. pl. 1:367. 1753 (Sapindus laurifolius var. emarginatus (Vahl) Cooke; Sapindus trifoliatus var. emarginatus (Vahl) Radlk.);
India (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Daman & Diu, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar [Burma] as per Catalogue of Life;
Common name: Notched Leaf Soapnut • Hindi: रीठा Reetha • Kannada: Kookatakayi, Kudale-kaye, Kukate-kayi • Malayalam: Chavakayimaram, Punnan-kotta, Urvanjik-kaya, Uruangi • Marathi: aritha, rimgi, rimthi • Oriya: Ritha • Sanskrit: Arishta, arishtaphalam, Aristam, Phenila • Tamil: Ponnankottai, Manipungan maram, Poovandikottai • Telugu: Kukudu-kayalu, Kungititkaya, Kunkudu-chettu
Flora of Davanagere District, Karnataka, India  By B. K. Manjunatha, V. Krishna, T. Pullaiah (Description & Keys- Sapindus emarginatus Vahl & S. laurifolia Vahl syn. of Sapindus trifoliatus L.)
As per Flora of Madhya Pradesh, BSI:
Leaflets 2-3 pairs, anthers apiculate
1. Apex of leaflets obtuse or emarginate; Petals with woolly scales- S.emarginatus Vahl
2. Apex of leaflets acute or acuminate; petals with minute scales or scales absent- S.laurifolius (syn. of Sapindus trifoliatus L.)

Trees, to 10 m high, bark dark-brown, rough; branchlets tomentose. Leaves paripinnate, alternate, exstipulate; rachis 25-100 mm, stout, tomentose, swollen at base; leaflets 4 or 6, opposite or subopposite; petiolule 2-3 mm, stout, tomentose; lamina 3-15 x 1.5-5.5 cm, oblong-obovate, oblanceolate or oblong, base cuneate or obtuse, apex obtuse, round and emarginate, margin entire, glabrescent above, softly tomentose beneath and midrib above, coriaceous; lateral nerves 4-12 pairs, pinnate, prominent, ascending, secondary laterals prominent, intercostae reticulate, prominent. Flowers polygamous, greenish-white, in terminal and axillary panicles; branches pubescent; sepals 5, 2-seriate, 3-4 mm, ovate-orbicular, unequal, ciliate, imbricate; petals 5, obovate, 2.5 mm, equal, clawed, glabrous on the inner surface except for 1-2 tufts of white hairs above the claw; disc annular, 5-lobed, strigose; stamens 8, inserted within the disc; filaments unequal, pilose, free; anthers oblong; ovary superior, trigonus, 3-celled, ovule 1 in each cell; style terminal; stigma 3-lobed. Fruit a drupe of 3 indehiscent cocci, combined about half way up and then separating with saponaceous fibrous pericarp; smooth and slightly pubescent when young, later glabrous and wrinkled; seeds black, globose, smooth.  

Flowering and fruiting: November-March
Dry deciduous forests and margins of grasslands
South Asia
(From India Biodiversity Portal (Sapindus emarginatus Vahl)  

ID request-31032012-PKA3:
Seen this tree at Gindi Park, Chennai.
Date/Time: 01-03-2012 / 03:45PM
Plant Habit: Tree ( 10 to 12 m)
Habitat: Not sure (could be wild)?

Looks like Sapindus emarginatus or Soap fruit.

Thanks …. It does look like Sapindus emarginatus.

Leaflets 2-3 pairs, anthers apiculate

1. Apex of leaflets obtuse or emarginate; Petals with woolly scales- S.emarginatus
2. Apex of leaflets acute or acuminate; petals with minute scales or scales absent- S.laurifolia
Flora of Madhya Pradesh, BSI.




Request Tree ID 43 Bangalore – Is it Madhuca Indica?:
Ulsoor, Bangalore

The inflorescence looks like that of Sapindus laurifolius. Please check whether leaves are compound with 4-6 leaflets.
I will verify whether its pinnate

I think you seem to agree with the ID

Thanks, for identifying it
It seems to match genus, species seems bit different.
But I will confirm and send another mail

To me, it looks like Sapindus trifoliatus L. (= S. emarginatus Vahl) by its emarginate leaf tip. Both S. trifoliatus and S. laurifolia are hardly distinguishable from each other except by the leaf tip character.


Sapindaceae Fortnight: Sapindus emarginatus.SMP2 : 1 post by 1 author. 1 image.
Sapindus emarginatus




Sapindaceae fortnight :: Sapindus sp. ?? at Panshet ::PKA3 : Attachments (8).  2 posts by 2 authors.
Sapindus sp. en-route Panshet.

Sapindus emarginatus
The apex of leaves are emarginate.

Sapindus emarginatus Vahl
outskirts of Pune on 10 JAN 13
Pls help ID Medium tree with lobed fruits from Chennai GEFEB2016:2/2 : 5 posts by 2 authors. 2 images.
Please help ID this medium sized tree from Chennai, fruiting in March. (Image is from previous year)

Sapindus emarginatussoapnut tree

Many thanks to everyone who replied.

I wanted to know the difference between the two species and this could be found in eflora of Pak. :
2 (1) Leaves up to 30 cm long; leaflets elliptic-lanceolate, acute. Petals without scales Sapindus trifoliatus
+ Leaves up to 17 cm long; leaflets elliptic- ovate, obtuse or emarginate. Petals with 2 woolly scales Sapindus emarginatus
So based on the leaves this is definitely S. emarginatus, as Id-d by ….  Thanks to … for the pointer.
Although I have often seen Soapnut (Ritha), had never seen the tree, so this ID is all the more valuable. Sadly, the habitat, off the Chingleput, road is fast being lost to “development”.

There is record about the presence of Sapindus mukorossi which is available in Himalayas ans Nepal. this is also called soapnut only.



What is the insect on Sapindus Trifoliatus – South Indian Soapnut Tree?:
I saw lots of them on a big tree on cubbon park as well as the smaller ones around my home.
They have come only after the fruits showed up.

It looks like mating bugs.

For comparison

Shield bugs

If I Google for shield bugs (which are also called stink bugs) I don’t see that White patch. Is this a symbiotic relationship?

Unless we can systematically understand both plant and bug benefit each others in sharing resources we cant say that there is symbiotic relationship. Example the insect forages nectar from the flower that resulted in pollination or the bug takes any exudates and prevents pathogens and predators attacking the plant.

There are many varieties of the Stink/shield bugs. For a more accurate identification, you could post the bugs at insectindia at yahoogroups, where many knowledgeable persons would help you.

Might be a species belongs to the family Pentatomidae

Agreed. This is a Stinkbug / Shieldbug of Family Pentatomoidae, possibly a species of Tessaratoma.

I saw it on Sapindus emarginatusNotched Leaf Soapnut

Stink beetles


Solitude | 28Aug2011AR01 from Gingee:
Just sharing a picture depicting an expanse of natural scenery from Ginjee, not a good picture to request ID. However, I Welcome if possible.

Zoomed photo to see- Leaves appear alternate, obovate to obcordate, size-13cms approx.
Tree height 17 feet, Habitat -fields near to the foothills of Gingee.
Gingee fort, Tamilnadu,
20-Jul 2008

This is Sapindus emarginatus, I think. 







Photographed this medium sized tree at Betul , MP , on 12.12.11. Height of tree was abt-10 -11 mts.

This is a species of Sapindus.

My pictures for comparison (Sapindus)

Looks like Sapindus laurifolius.

Thank you … These are mine. My previous photographs are available at this link

… images are of Sapindus trifoliatus L. only.

Yes Sapindus laurifolius (most probably).

To me appears close to images at Sapindus emarginatus Vahl

SMPAPR10 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (3)
Soapnut tree in fruiting
Sapindus trifoliatus

I think it should be Sapindus emarginatus Vahl as per keys and details herein.

14/11/09 in Shamirpet, in Rangareddi district, Andhra Pradesh; Dutch Fort, Sadras, Mahabalipuram, Taminadu; Panshet, Pune, Maharashtra; unknown tree – efloraofindia | Google Groups


Sapindaceae: Sapindus emarginatus: 3 high res. images.
Sapindus emarginatus from Andhra University Botanical Garden Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh


Sapindaceae: Sapindus trifoliatus L.: 1 high res. image.
synonym: Sapindus laurifolius Vahl
location/date: University of Agricultural Sciences campus, Bangalore, July 1997

Pl. see the leaf apex.





Catalogue of Life  POWO  GRIN (Sapindus emarginatus Vahl) The Plant List Ver. 1.1  Flora of Pakistan (Sapindus emarginatus Vahl) efi thread  Flora of Peninsular India  Flowers of India (Sapindus emarginatus Vahl) India Biodiversity Portal (Sapindus emarginatus Vahl)  

Flora of Eastern Ghats: Hill Ranges of South East India, Volume 1  

By T. Pullaiah, D. Muralidhara Rao, K. Sri Ramamurthy (2002- Description of Sapindus emarginatus Vahl syn. S.trifoliata sensu Heirn.)

Flora of Davanagere District, Karnataka, India  By B. K. Manjunatha, V. Krishna, T. Pullaiah (Description & Keys- Sapindus emarginatus Vahl & S. laurifolia Vahl syn. of Sapindus trifoliatus L.)


Sapindus emarginatus