Plants perennial, colonial. Stems erect, simple or branched distally, 30-90 cm. Leaves: petiole often absent or winged, 0.1-1.5 cm; blade strongly 3(-5)-veined, elliptic to oblanceolate or ovate, 3-11(-15) × 1.5-4.5 cm. Cymes dense to open. Pedicels 1-5 mm. Flowers sometimes double; calyx green or reddish, often cleft, 15-25 mm, glabrous or rarely with scattered trichomes; petals pink to white, often drying to dull purple, blade 8-15 mm. Capsules ca. 15-20 mm. Seeds 1.6-2 mm wide. 2n = 28. Flowering spring-fall. Waste places, streamsides, fields, roadsides; 0-2600 m; introduced; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask.; Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; Eurasia; introduced in Mexico, South America, Asia (India), Africa (Egypt), Australia. Saponaria officinalis, long cultivated for its showy flowers, is a widely naturalized, sometimes troublesome weed. It may persist for years about abandoned home sites. 'Double'-flowered horticultural forms, which may lack functional stamens, also occur in the wild, where locally they may be as common as, or even more common than, 'single'-flowered forms.
In former times, the leaves of this species were gathered and either soaked or boiled in water, the resulting liquid being used for washing as a liquid soap. Because of its saponin content, the species can be poisonous upon ingestion, in much the same manner as Agrostemma githago.
Perennial herb with rhizomes, colonial 30 cm - 1 m tall Stem: upright, unbranched or branched above, mostly hairless. Leaves: opposite, fused at the base, 3 - 11 cm long, 1.5 - 4.5 cm wide, elliptic to reverse lance-shaped with a pointed tip, strongly three-veined. Flowers: in dense to loose clusters (cymes), often paired, on upright, 1 - 5 mm long stalks, pink to white, subtended by paired bracts, fragrant. Stamens ten. Styles two. Sepals: fused at the base into a tube (calyx). Calyx tube green or reddish, 1.5 - 2.5 cm long, cylindrical, 20-veined, membranous, with short lobes, often becoming deeply two-lobed. Lobes shorter than tube, scarious (dry, thin, and membranous), with white margins and a pointed tip. Petals: five, pink to white, 8 - 15 mm long, oblong to reverse egg-shaped, distinctly clawed. Fruit: a dehiscent capsule (opening by four teeth), 1.5 - 2 cm long. Seeds numerous, dark brown, around 2 mm wide, kidney-shaped, laterally compressed.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: June to early November
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Eurasia. Very common as a weed in cindery and sandy soil, and extremely common on railroad ballast. In non-sandy areas this plant is somewhat less of a weed. May also be found in fields, open woods, and along roads.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Saponaria means soapy, referring to a time when the leaves of this species were either soaked or boiled in water to create a liquid that was used for washing. However, this species can be poisonous if ingested. Officinalis means "sold in shops; official." This may apply to medicinal, edible, and otherwise useful plants.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
Colonial by rhizomes, erect, 4-8 dm, mostly glabrous; lvs 7-10 נ2-4 cm, elliptic to elliptic-ovate or lance-elliptic, acute; infl congested and subcapitate to open and oblong- pyramidal, to 15 cm, the primary bracts leafy, the ultimate ones scarious; fls fragrant, often double; cal 1.5-2.5 cm, the lobes triangular-attenuate, the tube often becoming deeply bilobed; pet white or pinkish, the auricles none, the appendages conspicuous, the blade 8-15 mm, oblong to oblong-obovate; stamens exsert; 2n=28. Native of the Old World; formerly cult. and now established as a weed of roadsides and waste places or along railways throughout most of temperate N. Amer. Summer.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Duration: Perennial Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Introduced perennial, 30-90 cm tall; plants colonial; stems erect, simple to branched, glabrous; rhizomatous. Leaves: Cauline, opposite, simple, elliptic, oblanceolate, or ovate, 3-11 cm long, 1.5-4.5 cm wide, reduced upward, strongly 3 (5)-nerved, margins entire; blades sessile or with a winged petiole. Flowers: Inflorescence a loose, open cyme; pedicels slender, recurved to reflexed from the base when in fruit, 5-20 mm long, glandular-stalked; sepals lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 3-6 mm long, glandular-stalked, the margins membranous; petals broadly ovoid, 7-9.5 mm long, white, 2-lobed, the apical notch 1-2 mm deep, the lobes rounded; flowers April-July. Fruits: Capsule, cylindric to ovoid, 1.5-2 cm long; seeds black, pitted. Ecology: Disturbed habitats, roadsides, streambanks, fields; 1200- 2300 m (4000-7500 ft); Cochise, Coconino, Greenlee, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, and Yavapai counties; widely distributed across North America and Mexico. Notes: Used by some Eastern tribes as soap, shampoo, and hair tonic, and as a tonic for spleen pain. Synonyms: Lychnis saponaria Editor: Springer et al. 2008
Este sitio es resultado de la colaboración entre los herbarios del noroeste de México y El Consorcio de SEINet. Está administrado por el Herbario de la Universidad de Sonora