Sapindaceae, also known as the soapberry family, is a family of flowering plants in the order Sapindales. There are about 140–150 genera with 1400–2000 species, including maple, horse chestnut, and lychee.
Sapindaceae members occur in temperate to tropical regions, many in laurel forest habitat, throughout the world. Many are lactiferous, i.e. they contain milky sap, and many contain mildly toxic saponins with soap-like qualities in either the foliage and/or the seeds, or roots. The largest genera are Serjania, Paullinia, Acer and Allophylus.
The largely temperate genera formerly separated in the families Aceraceae (Acer, Dipteronia) and Hippocastanaceae (Aesculus, Billia, Handeliodendron) were included within a more broadly circumscribed Sapindaceae by the APG. Recent research has confirmed the inclusion of these genera in Sapindaceae.
Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in Sapindaceae. The type species of the genus is Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore maple).
There are approximately 128 species, most of which are native to Asia, with a number also appearing in Europe, northern Africa, and North America. Only one species, the poorly studied Acer laurinum, is native to the Southern Hemisphere. Fifty-four species of maples meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria for being under threat of extinction in their native habitat.