E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Saponaria officinalis L.
bouncing-bett (bouncingbet; soapwort)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19741)

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Distribution of Saponaria officinalis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout, branched rhizome and long stolons; stems erect or ascending, several, simple or branched above, glabrous or nearly glabrous, forming large clumps, 30-90 cm tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves opposite, as many as 20 pairs, lanceolate to oblanceolate, 4-10 cm long, 1.5-4 cm wide, short-stalked or the upper ones unstalked; stipules lacking.
Inflorescence of numerous flowers in many tight clusters, fragrant, often double; petals 5, white to pink, stalklike at the base, stalk of the petals usually slightly exceeding the calyces, the blade mostly 10-15 mm long, egg-shaped to wedge-shaped with 2 linear appendages near the base, shallowly notched at the tip; sepals 5, green, united, forming a tube 15-20 mm long, with 5 teeth at the tip.
Oblong to narrowly egg-shaped capsules, to 25 mm long, 4- or 5-valved; seeds black, about 1.7 mm long, concentrically pimply.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in SW and SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lychnis saponaria Jessen
Saponaria officinalis var. glaberrima Ser.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References