SapindaceaeSoapberry family

  - Trees have leaves alternate (rarely sub-opposite), usually pinnately compound, rarely bipinnate.
  - Without latex or stipules.
  - Leaflets usually alternate, often serrate.
  - A small deciduous appendage terminating the rachis; the ultimate leaflet actually slightly sub-terminal.
  - Petiole base often with a lateral groove.
  - Small white flowers in axillary inflorescences, more or less asymmetric and with staminodes.
  - Fruit mostly dehiscent capsules with arillate seeds, rarely drupes.

Diagnosis: Trees and lianas, the trees lacking stipules, leaves alternate, pinnate, the rachis ending in a short deciduous spike that points to one side while the ultimate leaflet is subapical and turned to the other side, often with petiole base and adjoining twig deeply grooved.

Local distribution: Widespread, but more diverse on the drier Pacific slope.

Similar families
Anacardiaceae: mango odor, white latex.
Burseraceae: turpentine odor, white or semi-clear latex.
Meliaceae: sweet odor.
Rutaceae: translucent yellow dots.
Simaroubaceae: bitter odor, no appendage at rachis tip.

Diversity: Total: 9 genera, 26 species. Trees: 6 genera, 11 species.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber,