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Saponaria officinalis

Species of plant / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Saponaria officinalis is a common perennial plant from the family Caryophyllaceae. This plant has many common names,[2] including common soapwort,[3] bouncing-bet,[3] crow soap,[2] wild sweet William,[2] and soapweed.[4] There are about 20 species of soapworts altogether.

Quick facts: Saponaria officinalis, Scientific classificat...
Saponaria officinalis
Scientific classification Red_Pencil_Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Saponaria
S. officinalis
Binomial name
Saponaria officinalis
  • Bootia saponaria Neck.
  • Bootia vulgaris Neck
  • Lychnis officinalis (L.) Scop.
  • Silene saponaria Fr. ex Willk. & Lange
Pods and seeds

The scientific name Saponaria is derived from the Latin sapo (stem sapon-) meaning "soap", which, like its common name, refers to its utility in cleaning. From this same Latin word is derived the name of the toxic substance saponin, contained in the roots at levels up to 20 percent when the plant is flowering[5] (Indian soapnuts contain only 15 percent). It produces a lather when in contact with water. The epithet officinalis indicates its medicinal functions. It is a common host plant for some moth species, including the white-lined sphinx.[6]

Saponaria officinalis' native range extends throughout Europe, and in Asia to western Siberia. It grows in cool places at low or moderate elevations under hedgerows and along the shoulders of roadways. It can be found as a horticultural escape and noxious invasive in much of North America.[7]