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Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria officinalis or Soapwort has a long list of names it is commonly called, which I will include at the bottom of this page. It’s Latin name also is derived from ‘Sapo’ or Soap, which refers to saponin found in the roots which is a toxic substance but produces lather when mixed with water. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Western Siberia. It can also be found in North America.

Saponaria officinalis
Saponaria officinalis or Soapwort or Bouncing-Bet

Saponaria officinalis grows to be 70cm or 2.5ft. It has opposite leaves on the stems which are unbranched. Saponaria officinalis is a rhizomatous perennial. It is clump-forming. It flowers in the summer. Grow Saponaria officinalis in the sun. Plant it in moderately fertile and well-drained soil.

Saponaria officinalis
Saponaria officinalis

It produces pink shades of flowers that open in the evening and have had a life of three days. They are fragrant and more scented at night. They release pollen on the second night and stigma develops to its final position on the third night. Propagate by seed or division. No pruning necessary. Watch out for slugs and snails otherwise, it is disease-free.

Saponaria officinalis
Saponaria officinalis

This plant has been used as a mild soap especially for gentle fabrics like wool. To produce the detergent or the soap you can boil the root and the leaves and then strain it. It could be toxic if digested, however, it is used as an emulsifier for making tahini and in the middle east also for making halva.

Following are a variety of common names associated with Saponaria officinalis:

Boston pink
Chimney pink 
Common Soapwort 
Crow Soap 
Devil in a Bush 
Farewell to Summer 
Fuller’s Herb 
Hedge Pink 
Lady by the Gate 
London Pride 
Mock Gilliflower 
Old Maid’s Pink 
Old Maid’s Slipper 
Soap Plant 
Soap Root 
Soap Weed
Soapwort Gentian 
Sweet Betty 
Wild Sweet William 
Wood Phlox 
World’s Wonder

About Online Flower Garden & Dino

I am a flower enthusiast and a gardener at heart. Ever since childhood I loved reading about plants and started gardening at an early age. First by helping my father in the garden and later managing a large garden myself in my teen years. I planted and cared for a large number of plants, flowers, and trees both outdoors and in a greenhouse. To this day I enjoy visiting gardens and parks and learning about new and old specimens and varieties of plants.

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