Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Sapindus saponaria
L., Sapindaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: wu huan zi

English: cherry tart, sapindus, soap seed, soapberry, soaptree, wing-leaf soapberry

French: bois de panama, savonnier

Hawaiian: a‘e, mānele

Mangarevan: tutai kiore

Maori (Cook Islands): akeake

Other: cheritah

Spanish: jaboncillo

Tahitian: koku‘u

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Deciduous trees up to 25 m tall; bark pale brown, fissured and falling off in large scales from mature trees.  Leaves even-pinnately compound, leaflets 3-6 pairs, opposite or alternate, chartaceous, oblong-elliptic, slightly falcate, 6-16 cm long, 2-4.5 cm wide, upper surface glabrous, lower surface moderately tomentose to puberulent, margins entire, slightly undulate, apex acuminate, base rounded, rachis winged in young leaves, petioles 3-5 cm long.  Flowers in terminal, tomentose panicles to 10-20 cm long, pedicels 1-3.5 mm long; sepals unequal, outer ones ovate, 1.5-1.8 mm long, pubescent at least at base, inner ones suborbicular, ca. 2.5 mm long, pubescent, minutely ciliate; petals subequal, obovate to suborbicular-obovate, strongly concave, ca. 2 mm long, ciliate; staminal filaments ca. 1 mm long, pubescent at base; ovary 2-3-celled, glabrous; stigma lobes blunt.  Fruit of 1 (2-3) fleshy, globose mericarps 1.7-2 cm long, pericarp coriaceous.  Seed dark reddish brown to black, 1-1.2 cm long, testa without a tuft of hairs at base"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1229).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, "scattered in mesic forest, 900-1,370 m" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1229). Moist uplands in the Galápagos Islands (McMullen, 1999; p. 58).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "Mexico and South America west across the Pacific Basin on a number of islands to New Caledonia, also in Africa" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1229).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Rapa Nui (Easter) Island
Rapa Nui (Easter) Island (Isla de Pasqua) native
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 590)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Mangaia Island native
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Ma‘uke Island native
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Wolf, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santiago Group
Santiago Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
French Polynesia
Clipperton Island
Clipperton (Arue, Avera) Island   Sachet, M.-H. (1962) (p. 93)
French Polynesia
Gambier Islands
Kamaka Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Gambier Islands
Mangareva (Gambier) Island native
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 590)
French Polynesia
Gambier Islands
Mangareva (Gambier) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Gambier Islands
Mangareva (Gambier) Island native
St. John, Harold (1988) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Fosberg 11359 (BISH)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Eiao Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Vouchers cited: J. Florence, S.P. Perlman & M. Teikiteetini 9352 (PAP), J.-C. Thibault 1013 (PAP), J.-C. Thibault 1069 (PAP), J.-C. Thibault 1065 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Vouchers cited: J. Florence 6658 (PAP), M.-H. Sachet 1219 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1963) (voucher ID: PTBG 13243)
Taxon name on voucher: Sapindus saponaria
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Mohotani (Mohotane, Mohotane) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: B.G. Decker 2802 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Vouchers cited: J. Florence 6917 (PAP), J. Florence 7540 (PAP), J. Florence 8382 (PAP), B. Toutain 4270 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2002) (voucher ID: PTBG 41275)
Taxon name on voucher: Sapindus saponaria
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Tahuata (Tuhuata) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Huka (Huahuna, Uahuka) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Huka (Huahuna, Uahuka) Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2004) (voucher ID: PTBG 42204)
Taxon name on voucher: Sapindus saponaria L.
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Pou (Huapu, Uapou, Uapu) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: S.P. Perlman, K.R. Wood & J.-P. Kautai 15936 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Bora Bora Island probably native
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 262)
Voucher cited: BRY 26089
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Bora Bora Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 12035 (PAP)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Huahine Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island probably native
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 262)
Vouchers cited: Moore 406, BRY 26089
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island probably native
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 262)
Voucher cited: St. John 17383
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island probably native
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 262)
Voucher cited: Grant 4360
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rimatara (Rimitara) Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island native
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island native
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1229)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands native
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 590)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 127)
Voucher cited: MacKee 42193
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 498)
In secondary forests at low and medium altitudes, locally common.
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Island native
St. John, H. (1987) (p. 40)
Vouchers cited: St. John 15021, St. John & D. Anderson 15050, Fosberg 11331
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Usually cultivated by temples, in gardens, and alongside villages. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 195)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Usually cultivated by temples, in gardens, and alongside villages.
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
French Territory of Mayotte
Mayotte Islands
Mayotte Island introduced
invasive
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Florida, Georgia

Comments:  While considered to be native on a number of Pacific islands, it is thought to be introduced in the Galápagos Islands as it only occurs on inhabited and formerly inhabited islands (Chris Buddenhagen, pers. com.).


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This page was created on 21 JUN 2004 and was last updated on 18 MAR 2012.