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Soapberry

soapberries-small
(Photo by Cathryn Hoyt)

The Chihuahuan Desert region has plenty of wide open spaces, cacti, grasses and shrubs. But trees, which usually require more rainfall, seem relatively rare. A few manage to take hold in the harshest desert landscapes though, and one of these can even be used to wash your hands. What is this tenacious tree? And how has it been used by desert dwellers?