Saponaria officinalis L.


Saponaria officinalis is a vespertine flower, and a common perennial plant from the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae).
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.
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.
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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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Caryophyllidae
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Saponaria
Subject: Saponaria officinalis L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:

Related Scientific Names:
Lychnis saponaria L. (Synonym)


Plants - Forbs/Herbs