Sapindus Mukorossi is a large deciduous tree that produces an abundant amount of fruit. It is native to the western coastal region of India including Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa and also Nepal where it is commonly known as Reetha. It belongs to the Sapindaceae family and is one of the most important trees in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indian Subcontinent. The plant is also known as Soapnut as the fruits are used in the production of soaps and detergents.
Reetha tree is quite hardy and disease-free. Hence it is easy to care for.
The tree can grow in full sun or partial shade. Best results will be observed in a spot that receives abundant sunlight. The plant prefers warmer temperatures.
The tree bears small yellow flowers which lead way for small leather skinned fruits which mature to a black colour. It also has rich foliage. The flowering season starts in late spring or early summer.
Water the plant when the topsoil seems dry. Do not over water to prevent water-logging. But make sure to keep the soil fairly moist.
The most ideal soil for the tree is deep clayey loam soil. However, with proper drainage, it can grow fairly well in any rich soil.
The tree can grow up to a size of 40 feet.
Use any general purpose fertilizer during the early growth stage of the plant. Later on, fertilize before the flowering season. Make sure to water the plant before fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn.
No major pests or diseases affect the Reetha tree.
It can be used as an ornamental or shade tree. The fruits of the tree are used as substitutes for detergents and soaps as the fleshy part contains saponin. They also have medicinal value and according to Unani and Ayurveda, they are used in the treatment of various diseases including cold, constipation, pimples, epilepsy etc. The foliage can be used as cattle fodder.