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Sapindaceae A.L. Jussieu

Common name: Soapberry Family.

Number of genera: 135 genera.

Number of species (Mabberley 1997): 1325 species.

Disseminule type: Fruit (dehisced), or fruit (intact or entire), or seed.

Division: Angiosperm.

Class: Magnoliopsida.

Fruits: Pistil(s) compound; 1; 1-pistillate; with carpels united. Fruit pericarpium; simple, or schizocarp; camara, or capsule, or drupe, or berry, or samara (Dodonoea); baccarium (Spjut 6 families: Apocynaceae, Oleaceae, Phytolaccaceae, S., Saururaceae, Trapaeolaceae), or camarium (Spjut 5 families: Gyrostemonaceae, Juncaginaceae, Malvaceae, S., Zygophyllaceae), or samarium (Spjut 7 families: Aceraceae, Malpighiaceae, Rhamnaceae, S., Simaroubiaceae, Trigoniaceae, Zygophyllaceae); loculicidal capsule (Spjut Fig. 37C-D), or septicidal capsule, or pyxidium capsule (latter 2 not Spjut); capsule not inflated; capsule without operculum; without persistent central column; with (1–)2–6-carpellate (Dodonoea 5–6); with carpels united; with carpels remaining united at maturity; with carpels not radiating at maturity; with carpels remaining connected at style; without sterile carpels; not sulcate; in transection angled; 3-angled; apex not beaked; indehiscent, or dehiscent. Dehiscent unit seed(s). Dehiscent passively (assumed); and shedding seeds; without replum. Epicarp durable; membranous, or coriaceous, or hard; not glabrous (with hairs); hairs not glandular; without armature, or with armature; with thorns (Paullinia riparia); without armature glochidiate; not smooth, or smooth; without wing(s), or with wing(s); 1–3-winged; with wing(s) apical, or lateral; without apical respiratory hole. Mesocarp absent, or present; fleshy; composed of 1 unified layer; without lactiform cavity system. Endocarp present, or absent; not separating from exocarp; fibrous, or thin, or woody; without wing; without operculum; without secretory cavities; without mechanism for seedling escape; without grooves; without longitudinal ridges. Funiculus short; short without seed bearing hooks (retinacula); not persisting in fruit after seed shed.

Arfeuillea arborescens Pierre: fruit with wing. Arfeuillea arborescens Pierre: fruit with wing removed. Atalaya hemiglauca (F. Muell.) F. Muell. ex Benth.: fruit. Cupaniopsis leptobotrys (A. Gray) Radlk.: fruit. Dimocarpus longan Lour.: fruit.
Dodonaea viscosa (L.) Jacq.: fruit. Paullinia cupana Kunth: seed. Sapindus saponaria L.: fruit. Xanthoceras sorbifolia Bunge: fruit.
Aril present (see Pijl (1957) & Corner for details), or absent (about 1/2 genera); a true aril, or an arillike structure; crimson red, or orange, or white, or yellow; well developed, or vestigal; adnate to hilum, or testa; fleshy; of funicular origin, or micropylar origin, or outer integument origin; basal; does not aid in seed explusion from fruit; fleshy, or waxy; cupshaped, or saccate; unlobed, or lobed (Alectryon). Arillike structure falling with seed an arillode (either micropylar or micropylar-chalzal). Seed larger than minute; 1 to less than 5 mm long, or 5 to less than 10 mm long, or 10 to less than 25 mm long; 4–20 mm long; ellipsoid, or circular; in transection flattened, or compressed, or terete; not bowl shaped; not nutlike; without winglike beak; without caudate appendage(s); at maturity with food reserves; with perisperm, or endosperm; without canavanine. Sarcotesta absent, or present; fleshy. Testa present; without markedly different marginal tissue; without fleshy or leathery layer over hard layer, or with fleshy or leathery layer over hard layer; tight; dull, or shiny; surface smooth; without crease or line separating cotyledons from hypocotyl-radicle, or with crease or line separating cotyledons from hypocotyl-radicle; without notch along margin where cotyledons from hypocotyl-radicle tip approach each other, or with notch along margin where cotyledons from hypocotyl-radicle tip approaching each other; without glands; without bristles; glabrous, or pubescent; with hairs over surface; with short hairs; densely hairy; with straight hairs; villous; without glandular pubescence; without wings, or with wing(s) (Magonia); 1-winged; with wing encompassing seed; with wing(s) solid; with solid wing(s) similar to testa; without collar; without operculum; colored; monochrome; brown (all shades), or black, or yellow, or white, or orange (latter 3 for sarcotesta); crustaceous, or membranous, or thin, or hard; not becoming mucilaginous when wetted; surrounding embryo. Hilum larger than punctate; heart-shaped (white & finely pruinose: Cardiospermum). Raphe conspicuous. Endosperm development nuclear. Perisperm opaque. Embryo differentiated from food reserve; well developed; 1 per seed; completely filling testa (no food reserve); chamber central to wings; 1 times the length of food reserve; at one end of seed not extending into a depression or cup; foliate; with spatulate cotyledons; flatly coiled (circinate), or annular, or straight (& twisted); with cotyledons gradually connected to hypocotyl-radicle; without coleorhiza; without simmondsin; with cotyledons containing oils and starch; without stomata; green, or not green; with 2 or more cotyledons. Cotyledons 2, or 2 but appearing as 1 (frequently confluent into a fleshy mass); well developed; 0.6–0.9 times length of embryo; not concealing hypocotyl-radicle; incumbent to hypocotyl-radicle; not foliaceous; thin, or thick; circinate, or once-folded, or twisted, or plicate; smooth; with apices entire; with margins separate, or connate (fused into fleshy mass); basally entire; equal in size; not punctate dotted. Hypocotyl-radicle moderately developed, or well developed; not thickened; in pocket formed by testa therefore mostly separate from cotyledons.

Arfeuillea arborescens Pierre: seed. Atalaya hemiglauca (F. Muell.) F. Muell. ex Benth.: seed. Cupaniopsis leptobotrys (A. Gray) Radlk.: seeds. Dimocarpus longan Lour.: seed. Dodonaea viscosa (L.) Jacq.: seeds.
Koelreuteria bipinnata Franch.: seed. Litchi chinensis Sonn.: seed. Nephelium ramboutan-ake (Labill.) Leenh.: seed. Paullinia cupana Kunth: fruit. Sapindus saponaria L.: seed. Xanthoceras sorbifolia Bunge: seed.
Koelreuteria bipinnata Franch.: embryo. Atalaya hemiglauca (F. Muell.) F. Muell. ex Benth.: embryo.
General distribution:
Cosmopolitan. New World and Old World.

Detailed distribution: North America to Oceania.

Notes: Pijl (1957): "The seeds of the Sapindaceae show some remarkable features. One of them is the "Wurzeltasche or radicular pocket, separated from the main part of the seed by a 'deep fold in the testa'" … "The fleshy part (around seed) may belong either to the seed itself or to the pericarp. Structures are a) sarcotesta, b) micropylar arillode, c) micropylar-chalzal arillode (b & c are fleshy parts of the testa, d) true aril, and e) endocarp pulpa".

Noxious weeds: 1 or more USA state noxious weeds in this family.

USA states and territories with listed noxious weeds: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

USA state and territory noxious weeds:

Cardiospermum halicacabum L.: USA state noxious weed: AL●°, AR●°, DE°, FL°, GA°, KY°, LA°, MD°, MO°, MS°, NC°, OK°, SC°, TN°, TX°, VA°.

Cupaniopsis anacardioides (A. Rich.) Radlk.: USA state noxious weed: FL●.

Symbols: ªaquatic weed; ●terrestrial weed; °weed in seed.

Last updated February 2006.

Familial synonyms:, Dodonaeaceae Link, Koelreuteriaceae J. Agardh, Paulliniaceae Durande ,

Accepted Genera: Alectryon Gaertn., Allophylus L. , Allosanthus Radlk., Amesiodendron Hu, Aporrhiza Radlk., Arfeuillea Pierre ex Radlk., Arytera Blume, Atalaya Blume, Athyana (Griseb.) Radlk., Averrhoidium Baill., Beguea Capuron, Bizonula Pellegr., Blighia K. D. Koenig, Blighiopsis Van der Veken, Blomia Miranda, Boniodendron Gagnep., Bridgesia Bertero ex Cambess., nom. cons., Camptolepis Radlk. , Cardiospermum L., Castanospora F. Muell., Chimborazoa H. T. Beck, Chonopetalum Radlk., Chouxia Capuron, Chytranthus Hook. f., Conchopetalum Radlk., Cossinia Comm. ex Lam., Cubilia Blume, Cupania L., Cupaniopsis Radlk., Deinbollia Schumach., Delavaya Franch., Diatenopteryx Radlk., Dictyoneura Blume, Dilodendron Radlk., Dimocarpus Lour., Diploglottis Hook. f., Diplokeleba N. E. Br., Diplopeltis Endl., Distichostemon F. Muell., Dodonaea Mill., Doratoxylon Thouars ex Benth. & Hook. f., Elattostachys (Blume) Radlk., Eriocoelum Hook. f. , Erythrophysa E. Mey. ex Arn., Euchorium Ekman & Radlk., Euphorianthus Radlk., Eurycorymbus Hand.-Mazz., Exothea Macfad., Filicium Thwaites ex Benth. & Hook. f., Ganophyllum Blume, Glenniea Hook. f., Gloeocarpus Radlk., Gongrodiscus Radlk. , Gongrospermum Radlk., Guindilia Gillies ex Hook. & Arn., Guioa Cav., Handeliodendron Rehder , Haplocoelopsis F. G. Davies, Haplocoelum Radlk. , Harpullia Roxb., Hippobromus Eckl. & Zeyh. , Hornea Baker, Houssayanthus Hunz., Hypelate P. Browne, Hypseloderma Radlk., Jagera Blume, Koelreuteria Laxm., Laccodiscus Radlk., Lecaniodiscus Planch. ex Benth. , Lepiderema Radlk., Lepidopetalum Blume, Lepisanthes Blume, Litchi Sonn., Llagunoa Ruiz & Pav., Lophostigma Radlk., Loxodiscus Hook. f., Lychnodiscus Radlk., Macphersonia Blume, Magonia A. St.-Hil., Majidea J. Kirk ex Oliv., Matayba Aubl. , Melicoccus P. Browne, Mischarytera H. Turner , Mischocarpus Blume, nom. cons., Molinaea Comm. ex Juss., Neotina Capuron, Nephelium L., Otonephelium Radlk., Pancovia Willd., nom. cons., Pappea Eckl. & Zeyh., Paranephelium Miq., Paullinia L., Pavieasia Pierre, Pentascyphus Radlk., Phyllotrichum Thorel ex Lecomte, Placodiscus Radlk., Plagioscyphus Radlk. , Podonephelium Baill., Pometia J. R. Forst. & G. Forst., Porocystis Radlk., Pseudima Radlk. , Pseudopancovia Pellegr., Pseudopteris Baill. , Radlkofera Gilg, Rhysotoechia Radlk., Sapindus L., nom. cons., Sarcopteryx Radlk., Sarcotoechia Radlk., Schleichera Willd., nom. cons., Scyphonychium Radlk., Serjania Mill., Sisyrolepis Radlk., Smelophyllum Radlk., Stadmania Lam., Stocksia Benth., Storthocalyx Radlk., Synima Radlk., Talisia Aubl., Thinouia Triana & Planch., Thouinia Poit., nom. cons., Thouinidium Radlk., Tina Schult., Tinopsis Radlk., Toechima Radlk., Toulicia Aubl., Trigonachras Radlk., Tripterodendron Radlk., Tristira Radlk., Tristiropsis Radlk., Tsingya Capuron, Ungnadia Endl., Urvillea Kunth, Vouarana Aubl., Xanthoceras Bunge, Xerospermum Blume, Zanha Hiern, Zollingeria Kurz, nom. cons.

Literature specific to this family: Pijl, L. van der. 1957. On the arilloids of Nephelium, Euphoria, Litchi, and Aesculus and the seeds of Sapindaceae in general. Acta Bot. Neerl. 6:618–641.

General references: Corner, E.J.H. 1976. The seeds of Dicots, esp. vol. 2. Cambridge University Press, New York, Cronquist, A. 1981. An integrated system of classification of flowering plants, 1,262 p. Columbia University Press, New York, Engler, A. & K. Prantl. 1924 and onward. Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilimien. W. Engelman, Leipzig, Gaertner, J. 1788–1805. De fructibus et seminibus plantarum. The Author, Stuttgart, Goldberg, A. 1986 (dicots) & 1989 (monocots). Classification, evolution, and phylogeny of the familes of Dicotyledons. Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 58 for dicots (314 pp.) & 71 for monocots (74 pp.). [Goldberg's illustrations are reproduced from older publications and these should be consulted], Gunn, C.R. & J.V. Dennis. 1976. World guide to tropical drift seeds and fruits, 240 pp. The New York Times Book Co., New York, Gunn, C.R. & C.A. Ritchie. 1988. Identification of disseminules listed in the Federal Noxious Weed Act. Techn. Bull. U.S.D.A. 1719:1–313, Gunn, C.R., J.H. Wiersema, C.A. Ritchie, & J.H. Kirkbride, Jr. 1992 & amendments. Families and genera of Spermatophytes recognized by the Agricultural Research Service. Techn. Bull. U.S.D.A. 1796:1–500, Mabberley, D.J. 1987. The plant-book, 706 p. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Roosmalen, M.G.M. van. 1985. Fruits of the Guianan flora, 483 pp. Institute of Systematic Botany, Wageningen Agricultural University. Drukkerij Veenman B.V., Wageningen, Schopmeyer, C.S. 1974. Seeds of Woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450:1–883, Spjut, R.W. 1994. A systematic treatment of fruit types. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 70:1–182, and Mirle, C. & R.J. Burnham. 1999. Identification of asymmetrically winged samaras from the Western Hemisphere. Brittonia 51:1–14.

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Suggested citation: Kirkbride, J.H., Jr., C.R. Gunn, and M.J. Dallwitz. 2006. Family Guide for Fruits and Seeds, vers. 1.0. URL: http://nt.ars-grin.gov/SeedsFruits/keys/frsdfam/Index.cfm. Accessed November 26, 2022.

Questions about web site: Joseph.Kirkbride@ars.usda.gov
Page last updated 15 March 2012

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