Sp. Pl. 1: 408. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 191. 1754.

Common names: Soapwort saponaire
Etymology: from Latin saponis, soap, and - aria, pertaining to, alluding to sap
Synonyms: Spanizium Grisebach
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 5. Treatment on page 157. Mentioned on page 4, 6, 156.

Herbs, [annual, biennial, or] perennial. Rhizomes stout or slender. Stems erect to spreading, simple or branched, terete. Leaves connate proximally, petiolate or sessile; blade 3(–5)-veined, spatulate to elliptic or ovate, apex acute or rounded. Inflorescences terminal, dense to open, lax cymes; bracts paired, foliaceous; involucel bracteoles absent. Pedicels erect. Flowers: sepals connate proximally into tube, greenish, reddish, or purple, 7–25 mm, tube 15–25-veined, oblong-cylindric, terete, commissures between sepals absent; lobes green, reddish, or purple, 3–5-veined, triangular-attenuate, shorter than tube, margins white, scarious, apex acute or acuminate; petals 5 (doubled in some cultivars), pink to white, clawed, auricles absent, with 2 coronal scales, blade apex entire or emarginate; nectaries at filament bases; stamens 10, adnate with petals to carpophore; filaments briefly connate proximally; staminodes absent (present in some cultivars); ovary 1-locular; styles 2(–3), filiform, 12–15 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 2(–3), linear along adaxial surface of styles, papillate (30×). Capsules cylindric to ovoid, opening by 4(–6) ascending or recurving teeth; carpophore present. Seeds 15–75, dark brown, reniform, laterally compressed, papillose, marginal wing absent, appendage absent; embryo peripheral, curved. x = 7.


Introduced; Europe, c, w Asia, Africa (Mediterranean region), S. officinalis widely naturalized elsewhere.


Species ca. 40 (2 in the flora).

Saponaria pumilio (Linnaeus) Fenzl ex A. Braun [= Silene pumilio (Linnaeus) Wulfen], a species of the Alps and the Carpathians, was collected once from a ledge on Mount Washington, New Hampshire, in 1964; the collector, S. K. Harris (1965), suggested that it may have been an intentional planting. A cespitose plant, it differs from the two species below also in its one-flowered, rather than several-flowered, stems.


1 Stems erect, 30-90 cm; calyx 15-25 mm, glabrous or rarely with scattered trichomes; capsules ca. 15-20 mm Saponaria officinalis
1 Stems trailing, procumbent, or ascending, 5-25 cm; calyx 7-12 mm, glandular-pubescent; capsule 6-8 mm Saponaria ocymoides
... more about "Saponaria"
John W. Thieret +  and Richard K. Rabeler +
Linnaeus +
Soapwort +  and saponaire +
Europe +, c +, w Asia +, Africa (Mediterranean region) +  and S. officinalis widely naturalized elsewhere. +
from Latin saponis, soap, and - aria, pertaining to, alluding to sap +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
1753 +  and 1754 +
shults1989a +
Spanizium +
Saponaria +
Caryophyllaceae subfam. Caryophylloideae +