Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn.

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Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. Family

Sapindaceae

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. English Name

Soap Nut

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. Local Name

Ritha

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. Description

A deciduous tree that sometimes grows to a rather large size with heights from 15 to 20 m and diameters of 60 to 80 cm. The leaves are compound, alternatively arranged with each leaf 15 to 45 cm long with 5 to 10 pairs of leaflets. There is no terminal leaflet on the leaf. The leaflets tend to become smaller towards the top of the leaf. They are leathery, lance shaped, pointed and have short stalks. The bark of young trees is light colored with many small bumps. Older trees have a grey-brown bark with irregular scales that peel off. The greenish yellow flowers are fringed with hairs and borne in terminal panicles. The fruit is a drupe, 1.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter. Flowers occur in May and June while fruit matures between June and January. It appears to be disease and insect free. It is reproduced from seed or branch cuttings. The seed can be stored for up to a year and still maintain 90% viability. Trees with height of 9 m and diameter of 10 cm have been recorded in 5 years. Grains age straight.

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. Distribution

The tree is native to China and is cultivated in Japan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. In Pakistan it is found in gardens. It has been successful planted in Azad Kashmir and Hazara and does well in the foothill regions. An intolerant tree that requires deep, moist soils. It is adapted to a precipitation zone of 1000 to 1750 mm/yr or more in a temperature range of -0 to 40°C. It prefers a sub-humid, cool, sub- tropical monsoon climate on elevations up to 600m.

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. Uses

Moderately hard, a valuable tree because of its soap nuts and its foliage which is used as fodder. It has potential as a farm forestry tree in the foothill regions. Also used as fodder and nuts for soap.

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