Sapindus trifoliatus L., Sp. pl. 1:367. 1753 (Syn: Sapindus abstergens Roxb. ex Wight & Arn.; Sapindus acutus Roxb. ex Wight & Arn.; Sapindus laurifolius Vahl; Sapindus mollis Bl.) as per Catalogue of Life;
India (Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu, Kerala), Sri Lanka,
Malesia (I), Java (I), Rodrigues (I), Yemen
(SE-Yemen: coastal Hadhramaut), Myanmar [Burma] (Mandalay), Trinidad &
Tobago (I)
as per Catalogue of Life;

sap-IN-dus or SAP-in-dus — from the Latin sapo (soap) and indicus (Indian)
try-foh-lee-AY-tus or try-foh-lee-AT-us — meaning, three leaves

commonly known as: south India soapnut, three-leaf soapberry, trijugate-leaved soap-nut• Assamese: হাইঠা aritha • Bengali: ritha • Gujarati: અરીઠી arithi, અરીઠો aritho, અરીઠું arithu • Hindi: फेनिल phenil, रिष्ट risht, रिष्टक rishtak • Kannada: ಅಮ್ಟಳಕಾಯಿ amtalakaayi, ನೊರೆಕಾಯಿ norekaayi, ತೊಗಟೆ ಮರ togate mara • Konkani: रिठा ritha • Malayalam: ചവക്കായ് cavakkaay, പശക്കൊട്ടമരം pasakkottamaram, ഉറുവഞ്ചി uruvanchi• Manipuri: ke • Marathi: फेनिल phenil, रिंठी rinthi, रिठा ritha • Oriya: ritha • Prakrit: रिट्ठओः ritthaoh • Sanskrit: हृष्टः hrishtah, फेनका phenaka, फेनिल phenil, रिष्टः rishtah, रिष्टकrishtak, रीठा rita, सारिष्ट sarishta, ऊर्ध्वशोधनः urdhvashodhanah • Tamil: புனலை punalai, பூந்தி punthi, பூவந்தி puvanti • Telugu: కుంకుడుచెట్టు kunkuduchettu, ఫేనిలము phenilamu • Urdu: پهينل phenil

Native to: south India  

Flora of Davanagere District, Karnataka, India  By B. K. Manjunatha, V. Krishna, T. Pullaiah (Description & KeysSapindus 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.)   



Tree for ID : 280611 : AK-2: Taken on the 24th of Nov, 2009 at Nasik.
Cultivated tree in a garden.
Sorry for bad picture quality.

Ritha, Soapnut or Sapindus laurifolius.

Yes, its Ritha, correct name is Sapindus trifoliatus

These are fruits of Ritha pictures by me at Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.
Are they of the same or different species?
Can you kindly confirm? 

20032011pj2 for id from kaiga:   Villagers use this along with soapnut.
Date/Time-: 13/03/11   –     1 1:40
Location- Place, Altitude – Kaiga , Uttar Kannada ,Karnataka, 380 mtrs
Habitat- Garden/ Urban/ Wild/ Type-    Wild
Plant Habit- Tree/ Shrub/ Climber/ Herb-Tree

Sapindus laurifolius.. also called rinthi in marathi.. In old days people use to boil nuts in water with Acacia sinulata legumes as shampoo to wash hair. Gold and silver jwellary is also washed with these nuts

Sapindus laurifoliusAntuvaladakai in Kannada.  Tulu: Noprekai.

This is most probably be Sapindus laurifolius new name Sapindus trifoliata of Sapindaceae family. The only concern to me is the split drupes. Usually split drupes are not seen in S. laurifolius and this has mentioned
as a key character of S. emarginatus by Gamble
. But the lanceolate acuminate leaves are characteristics of S. trifoliata (in S. emarginata the leaves are oblong emarginate).




For Id P1110298, P1110299, P1110301: Place of collection: IITBombay, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Habit: Tree

Habitat: Planted in the garden

Height of tree : Approx. 20 feet.

Date of Photo : 20 Nov. 2011.

Flowers : small flowers were present (see the image P1110299-(eflora) ). Large number of insects and butterflies (blues, crows and tigers) were seen.

Sapindus laurifolius.
Ritha रिठा
Family: Sapindaceae




Sapindus For ID : MNP,Mumbai : 210613 : AK-3 Attachments (2). 4 posts by 2 authors.

Sapindus tree seen at MNP, Mumbai on 25/11/2012.

For confirmation of species id please.

Sapindus laurifolius
Other species S. emarginatus would have most leaflets with emarginate apex which is not the case here.

Thanks for confirming the id of this Sapindus from MNP, Mumbai.

Is Sapindus trifoliatus a Syn of the same or another species?


Sapindus For ID : Jijamata Udyan,Mumbai : 300613 : AK-3 Attachments (1). 15 posts by 5 authors.

Sapindus fruits seen at Jijamata Udyan, in Mumbai on 9/2/2011.

A small tree, missed the flowers.

Sapindus species in efi. 

Isn’t it Sapindus laurifolius (S. trifoliatus)? 

may be this is sapindus emarginatus. we needed close photo of leaves so its easy to identify this species.

if possible please send me.

Adding two more pictures as requested earlier. 
Pictures taken today.

It is Sapindus laurifolius and not S.emarginatus

earlier I says that it may be Sapindus emarginatus but after got a new photo which we needed for identification, I identified this species as a Sapindus trifoliatus.

now … says its S laurifolius. He is also right but S. laurifolius is not valid name. S. laurifolius is synonym of Sapidus trifoliatus.

So there are no confusion for this species.
Please know this species as a Sapindus trifoliatus.

Thanks … for your detailed reply. Your feedback is very important.

I understand your earlier concern of close-up of photograph of the leaves.

My understanding about the two species of Sapindus observed in Maharashtra is as follows (BSI Mah)

Sapindus emarginatus : Apex of leaflets emarginate
Sapindus laurifolius: Apex of leaflets acuminate.

Both of the above sp. have Sapindus trifoliatus as synonym.

Now again as per The Plant List

Sapindus trifoliatus is an accepted name and Sapindus emarginatus Vahl. is its synonym.
So some confusion still remains.

according to … Sapindus trifoliatus is an accepted name and Sapindus emarginatus Vahl. is its synonym. So some confusion still remains.

But I think there are no confusion on Indian Sapindus species.
According to Pant (2000) in Flora of India published by BSI, there are three species of Sapindus in India viz. Sapindus mukorossi, Sapindus emarginatus and Sapindus trifoliatus. According to GRIN taxonomy website, these all 3 species are valid.
I also worked on Molecular systematics of Sapindus in India. According to my studies based on morphological and Molecular I also found different between emarginatus and trifoliatus, both are distinct species. My studies still not published but there are no confusion about Indian species of Sapindus

Thanks … again.

What you say is definitely important. You have given the reference of GRIN and thanks for sharing about your studies.

The Plant List has some limitations esp. for Indian species. We have found this on several occasions.

So should we take Sapindus trifoliatus as more appropriate rather than Sapindus laurifolius?

we can follow Flora of India published by BSI. Pant (2000) already gives all details about Indian Sapindus. So I think there are no confusion for name, so Sapindus trifoliatus is valid name and Sapindus laurifolius is synonym of S. trifoliatus.


Requesting ID of this tree – Mumbai :: 04092013 :: ARK-01 :: February 2013 : Attachments (1). 5 posts by 2 authors.

Requesting to please ID this tree captured at Sagar Upvan, Mumbai in February 2013.
Unfortunately, this is the only pic I have, is this enough to ID?

I can see the compound leaf with 4/6 leaflets.

Most likely Sapindus species. S. trifoliatus.

Thank you … for ID.. May I ask a query….

In this case, did the fruit guide you to this ID first or the leaves….

Actually both.

The specimen of leaf is not very healthy/clear here.

The fruit prompted me for the ID by visual memory and the leaf phyllotaxy is also matching and the location too.

Requesting to please ID this tree captured in Lalbagh, Bangalore in November 2013.
The placard says Sapindus emarginatus, but the leaves are not emarginate……

Probably Sapindus trifoliata

Yes Sapindus trifoliatus syn. Sapindus laurifolius

Sapindus trifoliatus Syn. Sapindus laurifolius





Sapindus sp. from North Karnataka.

Sapindus trifoliatus

Attachments (3). 3 posts by 2 authors.  
Attached are pictures of Sapindus trifoliatus from Lalbagh, Bangalore captured in November 2013.
Requested to please validate ID. 

Sapindus trifoliatus

Sapindus trifoliatus L.
at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary on 06 DEC 08





Konkan, May 2014 :: Requesting ID of this tree :: 02JUN014 :: ARK-04 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (4).
Requesting to please ID this tree captured near Devgad, Maharashtra in May 2014.

No flowering or fruiting seen.

Sapindus laurifolius Vahl
Could you spot some fruits of this tree?

Thank you … for the ID.

No I could not spot any flowers/fruits on the tree.




Kindly help me to find the botanical name of this two herbs : 8 posts by 4 authors. 3 correct images as above.

Kindly help me to find the botanical name of this two herbs
Both plants are available at Saurashtra University, Rajkot campus.
First one is prominent road side plant and the seeds are stick to the cloths if we pass through it. I attache the photograph Best I have with me for it. this plant is locally known as aghero in gujarati, and as per the local practitioner it is used at the time of delivery of baby.
Second plant is totally unknown for me and my colleagues I have few pics and I want to know its botanical name so I can have some idea of its pharmacological activities. flowering season is pass so I don’t have the picture of flower for this plant. If you need more picture I can provide as much as you want.

First plant (1st plant) is Achyranthes aspera (Amaranthaceae).
Second plant may be Saraca asoca (Fabaceae) but not sure.

Pl. sent photos of 2nd plant showing complete tree etc.


Kindly find the attached photographs of the plant 2. upper surface is dark green compare to bottom of the leaf. Leaf surface is rough in touch.

Hope this will help you to identify the plant. 
Attachments (15) 

seems to be of sapindus laurifolius

efi page on Sapindus trifoliatus (Syn: (=) Sapindus laurifolius Vahl);    

Sapindus trifoliatus L. is an accepted name
Sapindus laurifolius Balb. ex DC. is an unresolved name
as per the IPNI you are right the plant is Sapindus trifoliatus.


ANDEC16 Please identify this tree : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (8) 
Nelliyampathy, Kerala
November 2014

This may be sapindus trifoliatus

Thank you sir.





ANFEB23 Sapindus trifoliatus : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (7).  
Family: Sapindaceae
Date: January 2015
Place: Paripathodu, Aralam WLS, Kerala
Habit: Tree
Identified by: …




ANNOV38/38 Sapindus laurifolia Vahl : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (8)
Family: Sapindaceae
Date: 15th November 2015
Place: Agumbe, Shimoga District, Karnataka
Habit: Tree
Habitat: Semi-evergreen forest

Fruits are available at this link

I am pointing out that Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 682. 1875 treated S. laurifolius as a synonym of S. trifoliatus L. but some authors think that S. trifoliatus in the sense of J.D.Hooker is a mixture and a part of it goes to S. laurifolius. This problem needs to be clarified.



Fruit for Id – ID07032016SH1 : 9 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (1)

Picture of fruit for Id pl. Is this soapnut fruit ? Sapindus ? Which species ?
Location – Sasan Gir
Date- 21.2.2016

I think you are right. Pl. check keys at Sapindus

Thanks … I went through the keys at Sapindus of the eflora gr., but I can’t differentiate between the different species ? Can you pl. help me in identifying the species ? Is it Sapindus emarginatus ?

I think it should be Sapindus trifoliatus

This looks like Sapindus trifoliatus [previously S.laurifolius] with the apex of the leaves being acute or acuminate, whereas in S. emarginatus they are rounded or emarginated.

… absolutely right.

It is Sapindus trifoliatus L.

Looks like Sapindus trifoliatus. Please check this link :






Tree At SGNP mango like inflorescence id please : 9 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (5) – around 700 kb each.
Please help identify tree at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Location: 27-Oct-2018  
Please find attached images of tree, branch, leaves and inflorescense

Please help.
Attaching one more picture which was forgotten.
Please find attached branch picture with vegetative buds and attached compound leaves.
Branch color is kind of reddish brown which is distinctive.
Attachments (1)- 966 kb  

Narrowing down to Sapindus laurifolia as per my friend. 

Tree structure, leaves shape, leaves color, leaf venation, bark color, inflorescence, phyllotaxy seems matching.

Please confirm the above guessing.

Thanks, … You may be right as per details at 

Thanks … It is matching.




PM1 30-11-2018 TREE ID FROM CHANDIGARH : 9 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (7)
presenting few images of small-sized tree, Leaves 7-13 cm long and 5-6cm wide, leaf lamina smooth above and sparsely pubescent beneath along the veins, swollen petiole.
Habitat- garden
Photographed at Chandigarh

i think it is matching with Sapindus mukorossi, Sapindaceae. need id confirmation

More closely with S.emarginatus

I think looks different from images at 

May be as per images at 
I am not sure

Yes sir u r right. resembling with S.emarginatus

Apices of leaflets indicate Sapindus trifoliatus rather than S. emarginatus

Sir I also observed some leaflets with rounded and emarginatus apices that’s why m confused but most of the leaflets were of acute apex










Date/Time-9th Oct 2011
Location- Place,   Park in Mysore
Habitat- Garden/ Urban/ Wild/ Type-Garden
Plant Habit- Tree/ Shrub/ Climber/ Herb-  A small tree
Flowers  are being initiated.

Affirmative … It is Sapindus trifoliatus [syn. S. laurifolius] locally called Aritha / Ritha. Have a few on my property. Will send my photographs of this later.

I think that this is Sapindus laurifolius of Sapindaceae family.

According to “the plant list” S. laurifolius is an unresolved name and though Sapindus trifoliatus is an accepted name it doesn’t mention that S. laurifolius is a synonym. Do someone has any relevant information on this aspect?

Have quoted from Dr.Almeida’s ‘Flora of Maharashtra’, Vol 1.

Sending you a few photographs of one of my Sapindus trifoliatus trees [dead centre in the first photograph] for comparison.

2 images


Request Tree ID 56 – Bangalore – RA – Is it Sapindus trifoliatus?: The leaves much lighter in color
I will also attach the other set of trees

The other set of pictures

The flowers of are coming up now

Why not Sapindus laurifolius?
It is showing three pairs of leaflets….
Any other mention about leaves?

Except for the leaves, I don’t see any other difference, till now.
one is darker green in color and other a much lighter

I too think that this is S. laurifolius.

The darker leaves are the mature ones and the lighter the new leaves.

Again took few more photos. Both of them have 3 pairs of leaflets.
One tree is small and has much darker leaves, another one bigger and has paler leaves everywhere.
Both look same except for the paler leaves in one, I cannot spot any darker leaves in the whole tree.
The new ones are very pale, light green.
Let me see when the fruits come whether they are any different.
For all practical reasons they are same. Was just curious

Sapindus trifoliatus is an accepted name on “The plant List”
Though Sapindus laurifolius is given as unresolved name it is the synonym.
Sapindus emarginatus though given as a synonym on the website it appears to be a different species with at least some leaves which are emarginate in nature.
All the above trees have 3 pairs of leaflets.

This is Sapindus trifoliatus L. as per synonyms herein.



Re: Sapindus ? : 5 posts by 4 authors. 2 correct images as above.

Salem Tamilnadu
Kindly identify

sapindus sp.
our own … had detailed at least one sp: – South Indian Soapnut Tree/South Indian Soapnut Tree.html
flora Karnataka lists this

… is correct :  Sapindus species, possibly S.trifpliatus.

First 2 images seems to be of Sapindus trifoliatus L. as per comparative images at Sapindus
3rd image is from a different tree.


Sapindus Species seen at the garden.

Sapindus laurifolius suggested by a regular visitor at the garden.

With trifoliate acuminate leave, I shall go for Sapindus trifoliatus L.
But here fruits look separate rather than almost combined fro this species.         

Thanks for the Species id. Sapindus laurifolius was suggested by a regular visitor in the garden. … can also have a look when he revisits the place.

The gardener, in his checklist, mentions Sapindus laurifolius.
Let me get more pictures of the plant so that we get nearer to the ID.

Thanks a lot … for your quick response.

Since you stay closer to the place, you may be able to revisit sometime.

Thanks, … It is a syn. of Sapindus trifoliatus L.


22032020EPT57 : 7 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (3)- around 800 kb each. 
Presenting for ID
Location : Javadhu hills, Eastern Ghats
Elevation : 3600 feet
Habitat : Hill side over the rocks
Taken on 12.02.2020

Check with Sapindus sp. Sapindaceae,

Resembles S. saponaria..

Thank you Sir.
The fruits are mostly three of them fused together 

You’re welcome sir 

Hope you know that character is common in Sapindaceae

Mostly S.trifoliatus ??? 

Sapindus trifolia not recorded in THIRUVANNAMALAI DT. Please let me know the exact location where you recorded. Is it Amirthi towards Jamunamarathur or Polur towards Jamunamarathur. Most probably it’s S emarginata. If it’s S trifoliata the new record.

It was recorded in Jamunamarathur itself ….

It is not Sapindus emarginatus Vahl as leaves are not emarginate here.


Id of Fruit – ID22062020SH1 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
Fruit for id pl.
Location – Alibaug (Dist- Raigad, Maharashtra)
Date – Feb 2018

Sapindus trifoliatus

Catalogue of Life  POWO  GRIN (Sapindus trifoliatus L. (=) Sapindus laurifolius Vahl)  The Plant List Ver.1.1  efi thread (Sapindus laurifolius is synonym of S. trifoliatus)Flora of Peninsular India
Biodiversity In India, Volume 4 edited by T. Pullaiah (Description) (Sapindus laurifolius Vahl, Symb. Bot. 3: 54 1794. (Syn: Sapindus trifoliata auct. non. L.))
Flora Of Davanagere District: Karnataka, India By B. K. Manjunatha, V. Krishna, T. Pullaiah (Keys- emarginatus & laurifolia & Description) (Sapindus laurifolius Vahl, Symb. Bot. 3: 54 1794. (Syn: Sapindus trifoliata auct. non. L.))