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Description for Sapindus Mukorossi, Ritha
It is a deciduous tree with a globose crown, it usually grows up to 12 meters tall, but can reach up to 25 meters. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 60cm in diameter. The plant has been used by local peoples for thousands of years as a source of saponins that can be used for cleaning clothes etc.
It is also harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. The tree is often cultivated in gardens, by temples and along roadsides in China and the Indian subcontinent, both as an ornament and also as a source of soap and as a medicine. The seeds are commonly sold in local markets.
Planting and care
It can easily be propagated by seeds. Rub the surface of the Sapindus mukorossi seed with fine-grit sandpaper to weaken its coat. Soak the seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing. Select an area with full sunlight or partial shade in which to grow your soapberry seedling.
This plant prefers warm climates. Fill a large pot with potting or germinating soil and bury the Sapindus mukorossi seed down to about 1 inch. It's best to plant this tree in spring or summer. Use one pot per plant. Keep the soil of the Chinese soapberry moist, but not waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Transfer the seedling to well-drained loamy soil after about three months. Choose a spot with full sun exposure. Gently remove the soapberry's root ball from the pot. Dig a hole deep enough for the root system and twice as wide, carefully spreading out the roots of the plant with your fingers. After that water the plant regularly until it establishes.
Caring for Sapindus Mukorossi
- Select an area with dappled sunlight or partial shade.
- Keep the soil of the soapberry moist, but not waterlogged.
- Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
- Choose a spot with full sun exposure for a mature plant.
- Apply a balanced, general-use fertilizer according to the need.
- Prune the plant every year to maintain the shape and size of the tree.
- Prune the damaged and diseased branches.
The fruit ripens by November to December.
Typical uses of Sapindus Mukorossi
Special features: It is a plant of Hasta Nakshatra.
Ornamental use: Used as a Lawn specimen, small shade tree, patio tree or screen where winter is hardy.
Medicinal use: Treating migrane headaches, or for dermatological purposes such as using the seeds to remove skin impurities like pimples or eczema.
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