Thursday, November 15, 2007


Western Soapberry berries, Sapindus drummondii

The leaves and the berries of the Western Soapberry are one of the few reliable spots of Fall color around here. The tree is native to Texas and aptly named since native Americans and Mexicans of the past learned crushing the berries in water produced a kind of lathery soap. It can grow to be either a single trunk round tree, or when it seeds itself (by seeds or root suckers) it grows slender in thickets. It has become one of my favorite trees because it is interesting all year long with spring flowers, nice shade in summer, and color in fall.

And, last but not least, it's a favorite because it grows maintenance-free in our arid climate of West Texas!


Bev said...

Very interesting seeing plants like these, because I have never seen any before. You can see how they're geared for the dry climate. I would imagine they would make good plants for making modern flower arrangements with, and I like their silvery stalks. Can imagine the Mexicans collecting these, and rubbing them on, perhaps in the bath. Because of where I live in Yorkshire some of the soap used to be made of woolfat, because somebody once noticed that shepherds always had very soft hands from handling the sheep, but I think the Soapberry sounds a bit more pleasant!

Bobbie said...

Gosh what a beautiful photo, Debi. The berries are such a pretty translucent yellow. Any tree that thrives there is a good tree and the fall color is just a bonus :) Beverly had a great idea, using them for flower arrangements, would be just gorgeous.