Sapindaceae

Sapindaceae

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sapindaceae'
Start a new discussion about 'Sapindaceae'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Sapindaceae, also known as the soapberry family, is a family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s in the order Sapindales
Sapindales
Sapindales is a botanical name for an order of flowering plants. Well-known members of Sapindales include citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem....

. There are about 140-150 genera with 1400-2000 species, including maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, horse chestnut
Aesculus
The genus Aesculus comprises 13-19 species of woody trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere, with 6 species native to North America and 7-13 species native to Eurasia; there are also several hybrids. Species are deciduous or evergreen...

 and lychee
Lychee
The lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to Southern China and Southeast Asia, and now cultivated in many parts of the world...

.

Sapindaceae members occur in temperate to tropical regions, many in laurel forest
Laurel forest
Laurel forest is a subtropical or mild temperate forest, found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable and mild temperatures. They are characterized by tree species with evergreen, glossy, enlongated leaves, known as laurophyll or lauroide...

 habitat, throughout the world. Many are lactiferous, i.e. they contain milky sap
Sap
Sap may refer to:* Plant sap, the fluid transported in xylem cells or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant* Sap , a village in the Dunajská Streda District of Slovakia...

, and many contain mildly toxic
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

  saponin
Saponin
Saponins are a class of chemical compounds, one of many secondary metabolites found in natural sources, with saponins found in particular abundance in various plant species...

s with soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

-like qualities in either the foliage and/or the seeds, or roots. The largest genera are Serjania
Serjania
Serjania is a genus of flowering plants in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. The name honours either French monk Philippe Sergeant or French friar Paul Serjeant.-Selected species:-Formerly placed here:...

, Paullinia
Paullinia
Paullinia is a genus of flowering shrubs, small trees and lianas in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, native to tropical South America, Central America and the Caribbean....

, Acer
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

and Allophylus
Allophylus
Allophylus is a genus of plants in the family Sapindaceae. This list of species is incomplete:* Allophylus agbala Hauman* Allophylus aldabricus Radlk.* Allophylus bullatus Radlk.* Allophylus chirindensis Baker f....

.

The largely temperate genera formerly separated in the families Aceraceae
Aceraceae
Aceraceae is a family of flowering plants also called the Maple Family. It contains two to four genera, depending upon the circumscription, of some 120 species of trees and shrubs. A common characteristic is that the leaves are opposite, and the fruit a schizocarp.The maples have long been known...

 (Acer, Dipteronia
Dipteronia
Dipteronia is a genus of two living and one extinct species, regarded in the soapberry family Sapindaceae sensu lato after Angiosperm Phylogeny Group and more recently )or traditionally by several authors in Aceraceae, related to the maples.They are deciduous flowering shrubs or small trees,...

) and Hippocastanaceae
Hippocastanaceae
thumb|230pxHippocastanaceae is the name given to a small group of trees and shrubs, when this group is treated as a family. Its most widespread genus is Aesculus . However, the American genus Billia and the Chinese genus Handeliodendron are also sometimes included in this family...

 (Aesculus
Aesculus
The genus Aesculus comprises 13-19 species of woody trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere, with 6 species native to North America and 7-13 species native to Eurasia; there are also several hybrids. Species are deciduous or evergreen...

, Billia
Billia
Billia is a genus of two species of tree native to the Americas, from central Mexico to Ecuador. The wood is used in carpentry....

, Handeliodendron
Handeliodendron
Handeliodendron consists of a single species of deciduous tree/shrub native to China, and is classified as rare.- Description :It grows up to 15 meters tall, and grows in mountain areas characterized by irregular limestone formations in Guangxi and Guizhou...

) were included within a more broadly circumscribed Sapindaceae by the APG
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, refers to an informal international group of systematic botanists who came together to try to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants that would reflect new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies., three...

. Recent research has confirmed the inclusion of these genera in Sapindaceae.

Characteristics


Plants of this family have a variety of habits, from tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s to herbaceous plant
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

s or liana
Liana
A liana is any of various long-stemmed, woody vines that are rooted in the soil at ground level and use trees, as well as other means of vertical support, to climb up to the canopy to get access to well-lit areas of the forest. Lianas are especially characteristic of tropical moist deciduous...

s. Their leaves usually spirally alternate, sometimes (in Acer
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, Aesculus
Aesculus
The genus Aesculus comprises 13-19 species of woody trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere, with 6 species native to North America and 7-13 species native to Eurasia; there are also several hybrids. Species are deciduous or evergreen...

, and a few other genera) opposite. They are most often pinnately compound
Leaf shape
In botany, leaf shape is characterised with the following terms :* Acicular : Slender and pointed, needle-like* Acuminate : Tapering to a long point...

, sometimes palmately, or just palmate (Acer, Aesculus), with a petiole
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

 lacking stipule
Stipule
In botany, stipule is a term coined by Linnaeus which refers to outgrowths borne on either side of the base of a leafstalk...

s, but having a swollen base. Some genus and species are having Laurel forest
Laurel forest
Laurel forest is a subtropical or mild temperate forest, found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable and mild temperatures. They are characterized by tree species with evergreen, glossy, enlongated leaves, known as laurophyll or lauroide...

 foliage due to convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

.
Flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are small and unisexual, or functionally unisexual, though plants may be either dioecious or monoecious. They are usually grouped in cyme
Inflorescence
An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Strictly, it is the part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed and which is accordingly modified...

s grouped in panicle
Panicle
A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers attached along the secondary branches; in other words, a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes....

s. They most often have four or five petal
Petal
Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They often are brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals lying...

s and sepal
Sepal
A sepal is a part of the flower of angiosperms . Collectively the sepals form the calyx, which is the outermost whorl of parts that form a flower. Usually green, sepals have the typical function of protecting the petals when the flower is in bud...

s (petals are absent in Dodonaea
Dodonaea
Dodonaea is a genus of about 70 species of flowering plants in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, with a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of Africa, the Americas, southern Asia and Australasia. By far the highest species diversity is in Australia...

). The stamen
Stamen
The stamen is the pollen producing reproductive organ of a flower...

s range from four to ten, usually on a nectar disc between the petals and stamen, their filaments are often hairy. The most frequent number is eight, in two rings of four. The gynoecium
Gynoecium
Gynoecium is most commonly used as a collective term for all carpels in a flower. A carpel is the ovule and seed producing reproductive organ in flowering plants. Carpels are derived from ovule-bearing leaves which evolved to form a closed structure containing the ovules...

 contains two or three carpels, sometimes up to six. There is usually only one style with a lobed stigma. Most often pollinated
Pollination
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilisation and sexual reproduction. Pollen grains transport the male gametes to where the female gamete are contained within the carpel; in gymnosperms the pollen is directly applied to the ovule itself...

 by birds or insects
Pollinator
A pollinator is the biotic agent that moves pollen from the male anthers of a flower to the female stigma of a flower to accomplish fertilization or syngamy of the female gamete in the ovule of the flower by the male gamete from the pollen grain...

, with a few species pollinated by wind
Anemophily
Anemophily or wind pollination is a form of pollination whereby pollen is distributed by wind. Anemophilous plants may be either gymnosperms or angiosperms ....

.

The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s are fleshy or dry. They may be nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

s, berries, drupe
Drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

s, schizocarp
Schizocarp
A schizocarp is a dry fruit that develops from multiple carpels. When mature it splits up into mericarps. Mericarps are often 1-seeded as in, for example, Malva, Malvastrum, and Sida...

s, capsule
Capsule (fruit)
In botany a capsule is a type of simple, dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. A capsule is a structure composed of two or more carpels that in most cases is dehiscent, i.e. at maturity, it splits apart to release the seeds within. A few capsules are indehiscent, for example...

s (Bridgesia
Bridgesia
Bridgesia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Sapindaceae. The sole species, Bridgesia incisifolia, is a shrub native to South America in Chile.----...

), or samara
Samara (fruit)
A samara is a type of fruit in which a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue develops from the ovary wall. A samara is a simple dry fruit and indehiscent . It is a winged achene...

s (Acer). The embryos are bent or coiled, without endosperm
Endosperm
Endosperm is the tissue produced inside the seeds of most flowering plants around the time of fertilization. It surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch, though it can also contain oils and protein. This makes endosperm an important source of nutrition in human diet...

 in the seed, but frequently with an aril
Aril
An aril is any specialized outgrowth from the funiculus that covers or is attached to the seed. It is sometimes applied to any appendage or thickening of the seed coat in flowering plants, such as the edible parts of the mangosteen and pomegranate fruit, the mace of the nutmeg seed, or the...

.

Classification



Sapindaceae are related to Rutaceae
Rutaceae
Rutaceae, commonly known as the rue or citrus family, is a family of flowering plants, usually placed in the order Sapindales.Species of the family generally have flowers that divide into four or five parts, usually with strong scents...

, and both are usually placed in an order Sapindales
Sapindales
Sapindales is a botanical name for an order of flowering plants. Well-known members of Sapindales include citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem....

 or Rutales, depending on whether they are kept separate and which name is used for the order. The most basal
Basal (phylogenetics)
In phylogenetics, a basal clade is the earliest clade to branch in a larger clade; it appears at the base of a cladogram.A basal group forms an outgroup to the rest of the clade, such as in the following example:...

 member appears to be Xanthoceras
Xanthoceras
Xanthoceras sorbifolium , the sole species in the genus Xanthoceras, is a flowering plant in the family Sapindaceae, native to northern China in the provinces of Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Liaoning, Nei Monggol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, and Shandong.It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 8 m tall...

. Some authors maintain some or all of Hippocastanaceae
Hippocastanaceae
thumb|230pxHippocastanaceae is the name given to a small group of trees and shrubs, when this group is treated as a family. Its most widespread genus is Aesculus . However, the American genus Billia and the Chinese genus Handeliodendron are also sometimes included in this family...

 and Aceraceae
Aceraceae
Aceraceae is a family of flowering plants also called the Maple Family. It contains two to four genera, depending upon the circumscription, of some 120 species of trees and shrubs. A common characteristic is that the leaves are opposite, and the fruit a schizocarp.The maples have long been known...

, although this may result in paraphyly
Paraphyly
A group of taxa is said to be paraphyletic if the group consists of all the descendants of a hypothetical closest common ancestor minus one or more monophyletic groups of descendants...

. The former Ptaeroxylaceae, now placed in Rutaceae, were sometimes placed in Sapindaceae. The family is divided in 5 or 6 subfamily depending on treatment.

Notable species




Sapindaceae includes many species of economically valuable tropical fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, including the lychee
Lychee
The lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to Southern China and Southeast Asia, and now cultivated in many parts of the world...

, longan
Longan
Dimocarpus longan, commonly known as the longan, is a tropical tree native to South and Southeast Asia, in the Indomalaya ecozone known for its edible fruit.-Vernacular names:The fruit is known as longan or longyan in English...

, pitomba
Talisia esculenta
Talisia esculenta is a medium-sized tree native to the Amazon Basin, and is found in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia.The tree and fruit are called pitomba in English, Spanish and Portuguese, cotopalo in Spanish, pitoulier comestible in French and olho de boi, pitomba-rana and pitomba...

, guinip, korlan
Korlan
The Korlan is a tree in the family Sapindaceae and the fruit of this tree. It is closely related to several other tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, rambutan, and mamoncillo....

, rambutan
Rambutan
The rambutan is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae, and the fruit of this tree. It is native to Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several...

, mamoncillo
Mamoncillo
Melicoccus bijugatus, commonly called Spanish lime, genip, guinep, genipe, quenepa, mamoncillo, or honeyberry, is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry family Sapindaceae, native or naturalised over a wide area of the tropics, including South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts...

 and ackee
Ackee
The ackee, also known as the vegetable brain, achee, akee apple or akee is a member of the Sapindaceae , native to tropical West Africa in Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.It is...

. Other products include Guarana
Guarana
Guarana , Paullinia cupana, syn. P. crysan, P. sorbilis) is a climbing plant in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean...

, soapberries
Sapindus
Sapindus is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the Lychee family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Old World and New World. The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species. Members of the genus are commonly known as...

 and maple syrup
Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species such as the bigleaf maple. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then...

.

Some species of Maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

 and Buckeye are valued for their wood, while several other genera, such as Koelreuteria
Koelreuteria
Koelreuteria is a genus of three species in the family Sapindaceae, native to southern and eastern Asia.They are medium-sized deciduous trees growing to 10–20 m tall, with spirally arranged pinnate or bipinnate leaves. The flowers are small and yellow, produced in large branched panicles...

, Cardiospermum
Cardiospermum
Cardiospermum is a genus of approximately 14 species in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, which are native to the American, Indian, and African tropics...

and Ungnadia, are popular ornamentals
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

. Schleichera trijuga is the source of Indian macassar oil
Macassar oil
Macassar oil is a compounded oil used primarily by men in Victorian and Edwardian times as a hair conditioner to groom and style the hair.Macassar oil is often made with coconut oil or palm oil or that of Schleichera trijuga, combined with ylang-ylang oil and other fragrant oils.Macassar oil was so...

. Saponin
Saponin
Saponins are a class of chemical compounds, one of many secondary metabolites found in natural sources, with saponins found in particular abundance in various plant species...

s extracted from the drupe
Drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

 of Sapindus
Sapindus
Sapindus is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the Lychee family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Old World and New World. The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species. Members of the genus are commonly known as...

species are effective surfactant
Surfactant
Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, the interfacial tension between two liquids, or that between a liquid and a solid...

s and are used commercially in cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

 and detergent
Detergent
A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with "cleaning properties in dilute solutions." In common usage, "detergent" refers to alkylbenzenesulfonates, a family of compounds that are similar to soap but are less affected by hard water...

s.