Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Saponaria officinalis L.
- Family: Pink (Caryophyllaceae)
- Flowering: July-September
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its opposite, simple, toothless leaves, its sepals
united into a cylindrical tube, its 2 styles, and its notched petals.
- Habitat: Roadsides, disturbed soil.
- Habit: Perennial herb with a thickened rootstock.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, smooth, up to 2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Opposite, simple, oval to lanceolate, pointed at the tip, tapering or rounded at the base, without teeth, smooth, up to 4 inches long, up to 2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Several in corymbs, white to pink to rose.
- Sepals: 5, green, united to form a cylindrical tube, up to 1 1/4 inches long, smooth.
- Petals: 5, white, pink, or rose, free from each other, notched at the tip, with a small appendage near the base.
- Stamens: 10.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 2.
- Fruits: Capsules cylindrical, smooth, 4-toothed at the tip.
- Notes: This is a popular ornamental species that escapes regularly from cultivation.
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