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Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria officinalis L.

Lychnis saponaria Jessen

Saponaria officinalis L. var. glaberrima Ser.

Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCaryophyllaceaePink or carnation family
GenusSaponariaFrom Latin sapo, “soap,” because the plants saponins produce soap
SpeciesofficinalisPossessed of real or supposed medicinal qualities

About plant names...

Common soapwort is native to Europe, but naturalized in North America, where it is now widespread. “Soapwort,” meaning “soapy plant,” derives from the saponins it contains—the roots produce lather when mixed with water.

Identification: Plants are up to 28" (70 cm) high. Stems may be tinged with red. Leaves are long and narrow, 1½-4½" (4-12 cm) long, and attached directly to the stem. Flowers are in large clusters, varying from white to pink. Each flower has five large, rounded petals, sometimes curled back, and is 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter. They flower from June to October. Each flower contains a capsule of seeds that resembles a small sack.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones The saponins in this plant make it moderately poisonous.

Online References:

Saponaria officinalis on Missouriplants.com

Saponaria officinalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Saponaria officinalis at Illinois Wildflowers

Saponaria officinalis on eFloras

Saponaria officinalis on Wikipedia

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

8/6/2013 · Dunstable Rural Land Trust, Dunstable, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/11/2008 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

8/26/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 15 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/28/2009 · Near Nashua River Boat Ramp, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 5" (11 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Saponaria officinalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

8/3/2009 · 111 Near 119, Pepperell, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (60 × 40 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/28/2009 · Near Nashua River Boat Ramp, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 16" (26 × 41 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

This is a double-flowered variety. · 8/6/2013 · Dunstable Rural Land Trust, Dunstable, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

This is a double-flowered variety. · 8/6/2013 · Dunstable Rural Land Trust, Dunstable, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Saponaria officinalis (Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Soapwort)

7/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Range:

About this map...