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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Sapindaceae — soapberry family

Plants in the Sapindaceae in our region are shrubs or trees (rarely vines) with alternate or opposite leaves. The leaves may be simple or divided into 3 or more leaflets; they are usually toothed. The flowers are arranged in branched arrays The flowers are usually either pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing, and usually actinomorphic (radially symmetrical), though some species have zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical) flowers. Individual plants may have either pollen-bearing flowers or ovule-bearing flowers, or both. There are 4 or 5 sepals and 4 or 5 petals. The sepals may be partially fused at the base. There are usually two whorls of 5 stamens, but sometimes fewer. The ovary is comprised of 3 carpels and has 1 style. Fruits mature as a schizocarp that separates into 2 winged segments or a capsule. The Sapindaceae family now includes species formerly placed in the Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key