on the Soap Tree

as we talk soap-making Vicky shared a story:
“On the subject of soap and plants, are you familiar with the soap tree? We used to use the leaves to wash our hands when we were kids, playing in the bush near our house.”
“Soap tree? I don’t know that one. do you have an image?”
“I just googled it. Botanical name is Alphitonia excelsa, common name red ash. It’s a rather undistinguished-looking tree: leaves are oval, shiny dark green on one side, and silvery on the underside. The leaves contain saponin, and new growth smells like sarsaparilla. Apparently the fruits have been used medicinally by the aboriginals, but I only know its use of leaves as soap.”



2 responses to “on the Soap Tree

  1. I’ve heard of the soap tree many times in my researching soap but have yet to actually get my hands on one! Now I’ve got to move it up my to-do list and see how well those leaves work. Thanks for the reminder!

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