Indian Soapberry (Sapindus Mukorossi)

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An attractive medium sized deciduous tree, Reetha (Sapindus mukorossi), stands up to 20 m in height, with gray smooth bark and pinnate leaves. The tree bears leaves in 5-10 pairs, with large drupes. The trunk of the tree is straight and cylindrical, going 13-16 ft in height and has an umbrella-like hemisphere measuring about 16 ft in diameter. The tree is ever-growing and in 70 years of existence, it can attain a height of up to 82 ft and a girth of up to 9-16 ft. The size of the leaflets tapers towards the tip of the rachis.

The flowers on Reetha plant grow during the summer season and are small in size and greenish white in color. The fruit appears in July and August and ripens by the months of November and December. This ripened fruit is then either sold in the market as soap nut or collected for seeds, as they tend to germinate easily. The dried fruit has a soapy texture and is used to prepare quality shampoos, detergents and a substitute for washing hands. Moreover, the plant is soft and green when it is fresh.

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