Bouncing Bet, Soapwort - Saponaria officinalis • (Pink family - Caryophyllaceae)

 

Bouncing Bet, Soapwort - Saponaria officinalis • (Pink family - Caryophyllaceae) The clusters of ragged-looking, scallop-tipped flowers form great colonies along roadsides. Pink or whitish; petals reflexed, sometimes double; leaves smooth. Stems smooth, thick-jointed. 1 - 2 ft. Roadsides, railroad banks, waste places. A native of Europe, this sometimes pink-tinged flower escaped from Colonial gardens.

 

 

 

The common and generic names (from sapon, the Latin for "soap") refers to the soaplike lather which forms when crushed leaves (containing saponins, detergent-like substances) are agitated in water. The cleaning action was utilized in treating skin disorders and poison ivy. It was also used, and is still used, to restore color and sheen to old china and precious glass.

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