Saponaria officinalis

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Saponaria
Species: officinalis
Scientific Name
Saponaria officinalis
L.
Scientific Name Synonym
Lychnis saponaria
L.
Common Names

bouncingbet, soapwort

Overview

Appearance
Saponaria officinalis is a vespertine flower, and a common perennial plant from the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae).
Foliage
The plants possesses leafy, unbranched stems (often tinged with red). It grows in patches, attaining a height of 27.6 in. (70 cm). The broad, lanceolate, sessile leaves are opposite and between 1.6-4.7 in. (4-12 cm) long.
Flowers
Its sweetly scented flowers are radially symmetrical and pink, or sometimes white. Each of the five flat petals have two small scales in the throat of the corolla. They are about 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide. They are arranged in dense, terminal clusters on the main stem and its branches. In the northern hemisphere it blooms from May to September, and in the southern hemisphere October to March.
Fruit
Fruits are capsules that are elliptical, and 0.39-0.47 in. (10-12 mm) long.
Ecological Threat
Saponaria officinalis has widely naturalized and sometimes becomes a troublesome weed. It may persist for years about abandoned home sites and invades waste places, stream sides, fields and roadsides. Because of its saponin content, the species can be poisonous upon ingestion.

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