soapbark Rosaceae Quillaja
saponaria Molina symbol: QUSA4
Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, to 2 inches long, thick and leathery, oval, edges entire or with a few blunt teeth (actually water secreting pores); dark green and shiny above and below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; individual flowers are white with yellow anthers, 1/2 inch across, obviously 5-parted, borne in umbrella-shaped clusters at the branch tips.
Fruit: A very distinctive round leathery 5-parted capsule, 2 inches in diameter, containing 1/2 inch samaras; ripening in fall and persisting into winter.
Twig: Green to red-brown or gray-brown, pubescent; buds ovoid or conic.
Bark: Initially smooth, becoming plated, gray-brown to red-brown.
Form: A small tree to 75 feet tall with a twisted bole and a dense irregular crown.
Additional Range Information: Quillaja saponaria is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and is not known to widely escape cultivaton.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654