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Common Name:

Western Soapberry

Scientific Name:

Sapindus drummondii

Family Name:



Western Soapberry is an under-utilized Texas native tree. Western Soapberry is equally at home in the dry canyons of West Texas as in an East Texas landscape. The crown of clean pinnately compound leaves forms an upright oval. The creamy white late spring to summer flowers are attractive and are followed on female trees by panicles of small translucent yellow-orange drupes. The fall color can be a good yellow.

Plant Habit or Use:

Small tree, medium tree



Flower Color:

Creamy white

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Translucent yellow, poisonous


30 ft to 40 ft


20 ft to 30 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Tolerates most soils as long as they are well drained; fruit can be a liability by mid-winter; drought, wind, heat, and limestone soil tolerant; a bark beetle has become a recent problem on this species.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.