Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~


Monday, June 8, 2009


I'm on a new quest. I am searching for this tree:

Sapindus Saponaria or Soapberry Tree

Or this:

Sapindus Mukorossi also called Chinese Soapberry

These are just two of a genus of about twelve species of trees which produce berries used for washing even clothes. The leaves have a clean, soaplike scent. A soap is manufactured in Mexico called "Zote", and it is purported to be made using said berries. I believe it might well be true, since I have smelled the leaves and they indeed smell exactly as the soap does. My bloggie friend Bob who has a charming and very educational blog recently made a post about the soap. My own dear Sister has two of these amazing trees, only hers have not yet produced the berries necessary for soap making. After finally taking note of her trees, I became convinced I simply must have one in my garden! I have read that using this natural alternative to soap is a very eco friendly way to help the environment whilst keeping a body and clothing clean!

Our recent trip to the Texas valley gave me hope of finding one. But alas, it was not to be. Perhaps next time!


glorv1 said...

I read that post by Bob on Zote. I too would like to have some of that soap. In fact I may ask Bob if he could mail me a bar and of course I would pay for it. I wish you luck in finding the trees. The seeds I am mailing you are almost dry and I also have some wisteria seeds to mail to you. Good luck.

glorv1 said...

You can get the soap at I just looked it up and the soap is available from them.

YayaOrchid said...

Gloria, my epazote is full of seed heads. But they are so tiny, I don't know if they're ready for harvest, or if they're still green. When I rub the tiny seedheads I get a bunch of powdery stuff, like pollen. I don't know if that powdery stuff are the seeds. I'll probably just cut off some stalks and send them to you. I need to look up what the seed looks like and when to harvest. I've also got some purple passionflower seeds I'll send you and some Texas Mountain Laurel (the flowers are purple and smell like grape soda!). I'll see what else I can find. The best time for seeds around here is in Sept-Oct. when things start dying back. I'll also see if I can find some American Beautyberry from last year. This year it still hasn't flowered completely. If I make a trip to Mexico I can get you the soap, but we haven't gone in a long time! I'll look for it around here, and if I find it I'll send you some.

Bob Mrotek said...

I don't want to burst your bubble of enthusiasm but I don't think that there is any "Sapindus whatever" in Zote. It is mostly animal tallow and coconut oil that go through a special process using caustic soda. Then they add a bit of oil of citronella and a brightening agent. I think the smell thing is just a coincidence.

YayaOrchid said...

Bob, I wish you could smell the leaves on this tree. It smells so much like your Zote soap! I just want it because it would be pretty neat to use it for washing.

Cindy said...

I will see if I can find a tree for you. We get lists from wholesale growers all the time. I would love to get some projects done, very satisfying. Hope all goes well.


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