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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Sapindales

Familia: Sapindaceae
Subfamiliae: Dodonaeoideae – Hippocastanoideae – Sapindoideae – Xanthoceratoideae
Genera: AcerAesculusAlatococcusAlectryonAllophylastrumAllophylusAmesiodendronAporrhizaArfeuilleaAryteraAtalaya – Athyana – AverrhoidiumBegueaBilliaBizonulaBlighiaBlighiopsisBlomiaBoniodendron – Bridgesia – CamptolepisCardiospermumCastanosporaChonopetalum – Chouxia – Chytranthus – Cnesmocarpon – Conchopetalum – Cossinia – Cubilia – Cupania – Cupaniopsis – Deinbollia – Delavaya – Diatenopteryx – Dictyoneura – Dilodendron – Dimocarpus – Diploglottis – Diplokeleba – Diplopeltis – DipteroniaDodonaea – Doratoxylon – Elattostachys – Eriocoelum – Erythrophysa – Euchorium – Euphorianthus – Eurycorymbus – Exothea – Filicium – Ganophyllum – Gereaua – Glenniea – Gloeocarpus – Gongrodiscus – Gongrospermum – Guindilia – Guioa – Handeliodendron – Haplocoelopsis – Haplocoelum – Harpullia – Hippobromus – Hirania – Hornea – Hypelate – Jagera – Koelreuteria – Laccodiscus – Lecaniodiscus – Lepiderema – Lepidocupania – Lepidopetalum – Lepisanthes – Litchi – Llagunoa – Lophostigma – Loxodiscus – Lychnodiscus – Macphersonia – Magonia – Majidea – Matayba – Melicoccus – Mischarytera – Mischocarpus – Molinaea – Namataea – Neoarytera – Nephelium – Omalocarpus – Otonephelium – Pancovia – Pappea – Paranephelium – Paullinia – Pavieasia – Pentascyphus – Phyllotrichum – Placodiscus – Plagioscyphus – Podonephelium – Pometia – Porocystis – Pseudima – Pseudopancovia – Pseudopteris – Radlkofera – Rhysotoechia – Sapindus – Sarcopteryx – Sarcotoechia – Schleichera – Scyphonychium – Serjania – Sisyrolepis – Smelophyllum – Stadtmannia – Stocksia – Storthocalyx – Synima – Talisia – Tapirocarpus – Thinouia – Thouinia – Thouinidium – Tina – Toechima – Toulicia – Trigonachras – Tripterodendron – Tristira – Tristiropsis – Tsingya – Ungnadia – Urvillea – Vouarana – Xanthocera – Xerospermum – Zanha – Zollingeria
Paleogenera: †Bohlenia


Sapindaceae Juss. Gen. Pl. 246. (1789) nom. cons.

Type genus: Sapindus L. Sp. Pl. 1: 367. (1753)


Aceraceae Juss., Gen. Pl.: 250. (1789) nom. cons.
Aesculaceae Burnett, Outl. Bot.: 891, 1093, 1126. (1835)
Allophylaceae Martinov, Tekhno-Bot. Slovar: 19. (1820)
Dodonaeaceae Kunth ex Small, Fl. S.E. U.S.: 724, 737. (1903) nom. cons.
Hippocastanaceae A.Rich., Bot. Méd.: 680. (1823) nom. cons.
Koelreuteriaceae J.Agardh, Theoria Syst. Pl.: 227. (1858)
Ornitrophaceae Martinov, Tekhno-Bot. Slovar: 443. (1820)
Paviaceae Horan., Prim. Lin. Syst. Nat.: 100. (1834)
Xanthoceraceae Buerki, Callm. & Lowry in Pl. Ecol. Evol. 143: 155. (2010) (as Xanthoceraceae)

Note: APG, 2016 maintained the broad definition of this family rejecting the arguments put forward by Buerki et al. 2010 for dismantling it into four families based upon the subfamilies above. Subsequently, Buerki et al. (2021) have presented a full taxonomic and phylogenetic treatment for the family, which is followed here.

Jussieu, A.L. de 1789. Genera Plantarum 246. BHL as Sapindi.
Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., van Welzen, P.C., Adema, F., & van der Ham, R.W.J.M. 2011. Sapindaceae. Pp. 357-407, in Kubitzki, K. (ed.), The Families and Genera of Flowering Plants. X. Flowering Plants: Eudicots. Sapindales, Cucurbitales, Myrtaceae. Springer, Berlin.
Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Wurdack, K.J., Ferrucci, M.S., Johnson, G., Dias, P., Coelho, R.G., Somner, G.V., Steinmann, V.W., Zimmer, E.A. & Strong, M.T. 2017. Generic relationships and classification of tribe Paullinieae (Sapindaceae) with a new concept of supertribe Paulliniodae. Systematic Botany 42(1): 96-114. DOI: 10.1600/036364417X694926 PDF Reference page.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2016. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 181(1): 1–20. DOI: 10.1111/boj.12385 Reference page.
Buerki, S., Forest, F., Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Callmander, M.W., Nylander, J.A.A., Harrington, M., Sanmartín, I., Küpfer, P. & Alvarez, N. 2009. Plastid and nuclear DNA markers reveal intricate relationships at subfamilial and tribal levels in the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51(2): 238-258. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.01.012 PDF Reference page.
Buerki, S., Lowry, I.I., Porter, P., Alvarez, N., Razafimandimbison, S.G., Küpfer, P. & Callmander, M.W. 2010. Phylogeny and circumscription of Sapindaceae revisited: molecular sequence data, morphology and biogeography support recognition of a new family, Xanthoceraceae. Plant Ecology and Evolution 143(2): 148–159. DOI: 10.5091/plecevo.2010.437 PDF Reference page.
Buerki, S., Munzinger, J., Lowry, P.P. & Callmander, M.W. 2020. Two new genera of Sapindaceae (Cupanieae) from the southern Pacific: Lepidocupania and Neoarytera. Candollea 75(2): 269–284. DOI: 10.15553/c2020v752a9 Paywall PDF Reference page.
Buerki, S., Callmander, M.W., Acevedo‐Rodriguez, P., Lowry, P.P., Munzinger, J., Bailey, P., Maurin, O., Brewer, G.E., Epitawalage, N., Baker, W.J. & Forest, F. 2021. An updated infra‐familial classification of Sapindaceae based on targeted enrichment data. American Journal of Botany 108(7): 1–18. DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1693 Open access Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Sapindaceae in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 July 24. Reference page.
Harrington, M.G., Edwards, K.J., Johnson, S.A., Chase, M.W. & Gadek, P.A. 2005. Phylogenetic inference in Sapindaceae sensu lato using plastid matK and rbcL DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 30(2): 366–382. JSTOR PDF from ResearchGate Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2016. Sapindaceae. Published online. Accessed: Apr. 18 2016.
Friedrich A. Lohmueller: The Botanical System of the Plants[1]
Stevens, P.F. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017 [and more or less continuously updated since]. Online. Reference page. 2016. Sapindaceae. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2016 Apr. 18.

Vernacular names
العربية: صابونية
asturianu: Sapindacees
azərbaycanca: Sabunağacıkimilər
беларуская: Сапіндавыя
català: Sapindàcia
čeština: Mýdelníkovité
dansk: Sæbetræ-familien
Deutsch: Seifenbaumgewächse
English: Soapberry family
Esperanto: Sapindacoj
español: Sapindáceas
فارسی: ناترکیان
suomi: Saippuamarjakasvit
français: Sapindacées
galego: Aceráceas
hrvatski: Sapindovke
hornjoserbsce: Mydłowcowe rostliny
magyar: Szappanfafélék
日本語: ムクロジ科
ქართული: საპინდუსისებრნი
перем коми: Сапиндус котыр
한국어: 무환자나무과
kurdî: Famîleya dodan û darspiyan
коми: Сапиндус котыр
lietuvių: Sapindiniai
latviešu: Sapindu dzimta
македонски: Сапунови
മലയാളം: സാപ്പിൻഡേസീ
Nederlands: Zeepboomfamilie
norsk nynorsk: Lønnefamilien
norsk: Lønnefamilien
polski: Mydleńcowate
português: Sapindáceas
Runa Simi: Ch'uchu yura rikch'aq ayllu
русский: Сапиндовые
slovenčina: Mydlovníkovité
slovenščina: Sapindovke
svenska: Kinesträdsväxter
తెలుగు: సపిండేసి
ไทย: วงศ์เงาะ
Türkçe: Sabun ağacıgiller
українська: Сапіндові
Tiếng Việt: Họ Bồ hòn
中文: 無患子科

The Sapindaceae are a family of flowering plants in the order Sapindales known as the soapberry family. It contains 138 genera[2] and 1858 accepted species. Examples include horse chestnut, maples, ackee and lychee.

The Sapindaceae occur in temperate to tropical regions, many in laurel forest habitat, throughout the world. Many are laticiferous, i.e. they contain latex, a milky sap, and many contain mildly toxic saponins with soap-like qualities in either the foliage and/or the seeds, or roots. The largest genera are Serjania, Paullinia, Allophylus and Acer.


Plants of this family have a variety of habits, from trees to herbaceous plants to lianas. The leaves of the tropical genera are usually spirally alternate, while those of the temperate maples (Acer), Aesculus, and a few other genera are opposite. They are most often pinnately compound, but are palmately compound in Aesculus, and simply palmate in Acer. The petiole has a swollen base and lacks stipules.[3] Some genera and species have laurel forest foliage due to convergent evolution.
Dodonaea viscosa flowers

The flowers are small and unisexual, or functionally unisexual, though plants may be either dioecious or monoecious. They are usually found in cymes grouped in panicles. They most often have four or five petals and sepals (petals are absent in Dodonaea). The stamens range from four to 10, usually on a nectar disc between the petals and stamens, their filaments are often hairy. The most frequent number is eight, in two rings of four. The gynoecium contains two or three carpels, sometimes up to six. The usually single style has a lobed stigma. Most often they are pollinated by birds or insects, with a few species pollinated by wind.[3]

Ripe fruits may be fleshy or dry. They may be nuts, berries, drupes, schizocarps, capsules (Bridgesia), or samaras (Acer). The embryos are bent or coiled, without endosperm in the seed, and frequently with an aril.[3]
Rambutan fruits

The Sapindaceae are related to the Rutaceae, and both are usually placed in an order Sapindales or Rutales, depending on whether they are kept separate and which name is used for the order.[3] The most basal member appears to be Xanthoceras. Some authors formerly maintained some or all of Hippocastanaceae and Aceraceae, however this resulted in paraphyly.[3][4] The former Ptaeroxylaceae, now placed in Rutaceae, were sometimes placed in Sapindaceae.[5] The family is divided into four subfamilies, Dodonaeoideae (about 38 genera), Sapindoideae (about 114 genera), Hippocastanoideae (5 genera) and Xanthoceroideae (1 genus). The largest genera are Serjania (about 220 species), Paullinia (about 180 species), and Allophylus (about 200 species) in the tropical Sapindoideae and Acer (about 110 species) in the temperate Hippocastanoideae.[6]: 294

The largely temperate genera formerly separated in the families Aceraceae (Acer, Dipteronia) and Hippocastanaceae (Aesculus, Billia, Handeliodendron) were included within a more broadly circumscribed Sapindaceae by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group.[7] Recent research has confirmed the inclusion of these genera in the Sapindaceae.[3][4]
Notable species
See also: List of Sapindaceae genera

The Sapindaceae include many species of economically valuable tropical fruit, including the lychee, longan, pitomba, guinip/mamoncillo, korlan, rambutan, pulasan, and ackee. Other products include guarana, soapberries, and maple syrup.

Some species of maple and buckeye are valued for their wood, while several other genera, such as Koelreuteria, Cardiospermum, and Ungnadia, are popular ornamentals. Schleichera trijuga is the source of Indian macassar oil. Saponins extracted from the drupe of Sapindus species are effective surfactants and are used commercially in cosmetics and detergents.[8]

Ackee (Blighia Sapida) fruit

Guinep/ Mamoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus) fruit

Lychee Fruit

Alupag (Dimocarpus didyma) fruits

Guarana fruit


"Sapindaceae Juss., nom. cons". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-01-17. Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
"The Plant List:Sapindaceae". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
Singh, Gurjaran (2004). Plant Systematics: An Integrated Approach. Enfield, New Hampshire: Science Publishers. pp. 438–440. ISBN 1-57808-342-7.
Harrington, Mark G.; Karen J. Edwards; Sheila A. Johnson; Mark W. Chase; Paul A. Gadek (2005). "Phylogenetic inference in Sapindaceae sensu lato using plastid matK and rbcL DNA sequences". Syst Bot. 30 (2): 366–382. doi:10.1600/0363644054223549. S2CID 85868684.
Watson, L. & Dallwitz, M.J. (2007). "Sapindaceae Juss". The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
V.H. Heywood, R.K. Brummit,A. Culham, O. Seberg (2007). Flowering plant families of the world. Firefly Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-55407-206-4.
Stevens, P.F. (2015) [1st. Pub. 2001], Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 28 January 2021
Stoffels, Karin (September 2008). "Soap Nut Saponins Create Powerful Natural Surfactant". Personal Care Magazine. Jeen International Corporation.

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