SAPINDACEAE - SOAPBERRY FAMILY
Trees, shrubs, woody climbers or herbs (e.g. CardiospermumL.,DiplopeltisEndl.). Leaves often gland-dotted, sometimes deciduous (e.g. Acer L.), compound (odd- or even-pinnate, palmate, 3-foliate or bi-pinnate) or rarely simple (e.g. Acer L.), alternate or opposite (e.g. Hippocastanoideae, few MataybaAubl.), sometimes an aborted terminal leaflet on rachis forming a tip or 'peg'; venation finely pinnate; leaflet margins entire or toothed; petioles often swollen at base; stipules absent. rarely stipule-like structures (e.g. SerjaniaMill., UrvilleaKunth); very rarely exudates (e.g. sap in Acer L. and resins in Aesculus L., DiplopeltisEndl. and Dodonaea Mill.). Inflorescences cymes, panicles, thyrses or rarely solitary flowers; sometimes cauliflorous to ramiflorous; usually bracteate. Flowers functionally unisexual (monoecious, andromonoecious, polygamomonoecious, dioecious, androdioecious, or polygamodioecious) or bisexual, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, nectar disk often outside the stamens, rarely absent. Sepals usually free or basally fused, imbricate or less often valvate. Petals free, fused or absent, imbricate, hairy inside, often basal scale-like appendages. Stamen filaments usually attached to nectar disk, filaments often hairy; anthers introrse; staminodes in female flowers. Ovary superior, pistillodes in male flowers; carpels fused; locules 1−8; ovules 1-several per locule; placentation axile to basal. Fruit a capsule, berry, drupe, nut, samara or schizocarp. Seeds sometimes with bright aril.
Byng JW (2014). Sapindaceae, In: The Flowering Plants Handbook: A practical guide to families and genera of the world. Plant Gateway Ltd., Hertford, UK., pp. 278.
The “soapberry family”includes trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants or lianasand is naturally distributed in temperate and tropical regions, throughout the world.Their flowers are small and unisexual which are usually grouped in cymes grouped in panicles. Many are laticiferous, i.e. they contain latex, a milky sap, and many contain mildly toxic saponins with soap-like qualities in either the leaves and/or the seeds, or roots.The most famous genus is Acer L. (maple). Many people recognize the “maple leaf” from the Canadian flag, even if they do not know the trees. It is easy to recognize maples because they have usually winged seeds that resemble "helicopter wings” and palmate leaves. They are commercial sources of maple sugar, timbers, and it is also an important ornamental plant due to its remarkable colored leaves in the autumn.
Anonymous 1 (2015).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aceraceae, Accessed date: 19.12.2015.
Anonymous 2 (2015).http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Aceraceae.htm, Accessed date: 19.12.2015.