Saponaria officinalis bouncingbet; soapwort Caryophyllaceae SAOF*; Bx, pb, vc, wv (Yost et al. 1991); Q, dp, j, tl; K, fl, m, pl; R, c, lp, mls;

 

Saponaria officinalis.David G. Smith.delawarewildflowers.org

Saponaria officinalis.David G. Smith.delawarewildflowers.org. (Accessed 4/2014).

Saponaria officinalis is a perennial herb  to 60 cm tall, colonial from rhizomes, stems stout, nodes swollen, oftren purplish near top. 

Leaves opposite elliptic, about 8 cm long, 3 cm wide, with 3 palmate veins, stalkless, often semi-evergreen, becoming partly purplish, viens whitish below; inflorescence crowded, to 15 cm long. 

Saponaria cyme (inflorescence).University of Illinoise.Integrative Biology 335-  Systematics of Plants.life.illinoise.edu

Saponaria cyme (inflorescence).University of Illinoise.Integrative Biology 335- Systematics of Plants.life.illinoise.edu (Accessed 2/2017).

Flowers white to pinkish, radially symmetrical, fragrant, 2 cm, petals 5, narrowed at base (clawed),  notched at broad tips; calyx elongate-cylindrical, papery; 10 stamens, 2 styles, conspicuous;  inflorescence of dense clusters. 

Fruit a dry capsule with 4 teeth, opening to release seeds; blooming and fruiting July-Oct. Seeds eaten by some birds (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: FACU-. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Europe/Eurasia.

Habitat: Open or part shaded roadsides and meadows, dry fill, sandy soil. 

Saponaria fruit capsules.University of Illinoise.Integrative Biology 335-  Systematics of Plants.life.illinoise.edu

Saponaria fruit capsules.University of Illinoise.Integrative Biology 335- Systematics of Plants.life.illinoise.edu (Accessed 2/2017).

Notes: Plants contain saponins, chemicals with soap-like properties. Winter plant pale tan with congested inflorescence branches and capsules.