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Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria officinalis (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Caryophyllaceae
Tribus: Caryophylleae
Genus: Saponaria
Species: Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria officinalis L., Sp. Pl. 1: 408 (1753).

Bootia saponaria Neck.
Bootia vulgaris Neck.
Lychnis officinalis (L.) Scop.
Lychnis saponaria (Neck.) Jessen
Saponaria alluvionalis Du Moulin
Saponaria hybrida Mill.
Saponaria nervosa Gilib.
Saponaria officinarum Rupr.
Saponaria vulgaris Pall.
Silene saponaria (Neck.) Fries

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corsica, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Gibraltar, Andorra, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Serbia & Kosovo, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sardinia, Sicily, Crimea , Greece (incl. Kiklades), East Aegaean Isl., Rhodos, European Turkey
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Siberia (W-Siberia, C-Siberia), Armenia, Georgia [Caucasus], Northern Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Turkey (E-Anatolia, N-Anatolia, NE-Anatolia, NW-Anatolia: Bithynia, SSW-Anatolia, WN-Anatolia), Iran (EC-Iran)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 408. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2019. Saponaria officinalis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Sep 11. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Saponaria officinalis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Sep 11. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Saponaria officinalis. Published online. Accessed: Sep 11 2019. 2019. Saponaria officinalis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 11 Sep 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Saponaria officinalis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Dərman sabunotu
башҡортса: Һабын үләне
català: Herba sabonera, Sabó de gitana, Saboneta, Sabonera, Herba de bataners, Herba de bugada, Llanaria
corsu: Sciuppuleddu
kaszëbsczi: Gapié mëdło
čeština: mydlice lékařská
Cymraeg: sebonllys
dansk: Sæbeurt, Almindelig Sæbeurt
Deutsch: Gewöhnliches Seifenkraut, Echtes Seifenkraut, Seifenwurz, Wachwurz
English: common soapwort
español: Jabonera, flor de jabón, flor del jabón, albata, herbada, hierba de bataneros, hierba de jabón, hierba de jaboneros, hierba de los bataneros, hierba de los jabones, hierba jabonera, hierba lanaria, jabonera común, jabonera oficinal, palo de jabón, saponaria, siabuneira, xabonera, yerba de bataneros, yerba jabonera, yerba lanaria, yerba xabonera
eesti: Harilik seebilill
euskara: Xaboi-belar sendagarri
فارسی: گل صابونی
suomi: Rohtosuopayrtti, suopayrtti
français: saponaire officinale
עברית: בורית רפואית
hrvatski: Sapunika
hornjoserbsce: Wšědna mydlica
magyar: Orvosi szappanfű
italiano: Saponaria
lietuvių: Putoklis, Saponaria
Nederlands: Zeepkruid, gewoon zeepkruid
norsk: Såpeurt
polski: Mydlnica Lekarska
română: Săpunăriță
русский: Мыльнянка лекарственная, Мыльник
slovenčina: mydlica lekárska
slovenščina: Navadna milnica
српски / srpski: Сапуњача
svenska: Såpnejlika
Türkçe: Sabun otu
українська: Собаче мило лікарське
中文(简体): 肥皂草
中文(繁體): 肥皂草
中文(臺灣): 肥皂草
中文: 肥皂草

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.

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]


The plant possesses leafy, unbranched stems (often tinged with red). It grows in patches, attaining a height of 70 cm (28 in). The broad, lanceolate, sessile leaves are opposite and between 4 and 12 cm long. Its sweetly scented flowers are radially symmetrical and pink, or sometimes white. Each of the five flat petals have two small scales in the throat of the corolla. They are about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. They are arranged in dense, terminal clusters on the main stem and its branches. The long tubular calyx has five pointed red teeth.
A blooming clump at the Prague Botanical Garden

The individual flowers open in the evening, and stay open for about three days.[8] They produce a stronger scent at night and supplement nectar production during the night.[8] The flowers are protandrous: on the second night of blooming, the pollen is released, and the stigma develops to its final position by the third night.[8] Much of the seed production comes from self-pollination.[8] The flowers are visited by various insects including Noctuidae, Sphingidae, bumblebees, and hoverflies.[8]

In the Northern Hemisphere Saponaria officinalis blooms from May to September, and in the Southern Hemisphere October to March.
External use

As its common name implies, it can be used as a very gentle soap, usually in dilute solution. It has historically been used to clean delicate or unique textiles, especially woollen fabrics;[9] it has been hypothesized that the plant was used to treat the Shroud of Turin.[10]

A lathery liquid that has the ability to dissolve fats or grease can be procured by boiling the leaves or roots in water. Leaves are chopped, boiled, and strained; the liquid can then be used as soap.[11]

In the Romanian village of Șieu-Odorhei, natives call the plant săpunele. It is traditionally used by the villagers as a soap replacement for dry skin.
Internal use

An overdose can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. [12]

Despite its toxic potential, Saponaria officinalis finds culinary use as an emulsifier in the commercial preparation of tahini[13] and in brewing to create beer with a good head. In the Middle East, the root is often used as an additive in the process of making halva. The plant is used to stabilize the oils in the mixture and to create the distinctive texture of halvah.

Saponaria officinalis contains the flavone saponarin.


"Saponaria officinalis L.". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
"Saponaria officinalis". Plant Selector. Royal Horticultural Society. 2002.
"Saponaria officinalis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 22 December 2017.
Slichter, Paul. "The Pink Family in the Columbia River Gorge: Caryophyllaceae".
Hiltunen, Raimo; Holm, Yvonne. Farmakognosia (in Finnish). Helsinki University Press.
"White-lined Sphinx Hyles lineata (Fabricius, 1775)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
Chayka, Katy; Dziuk, Peter (2016). "Saponaria officinalis (Bouncing Bet)". Minnesota Wildflowers. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
Wolff, D.; Witt, T.; Jurgens, A.; Gottsberger, G. (2006). "Nectar dynamics and reproductive success in Saponaria officinalis (Caryophyllaceae) in southern Germany". Flora. Morphologie, Geobotanik, Oekophysiologie. 201 (5): 353–364. doi:10.1016/j.flora.2005.07.010.
Dioscorides, The Herbal of Dioscorides the Greek, Book 2:193, s.v. Strouthion
"Shroud of Turin" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-03.
Mabey, Richard (1977). Plants with a Purpose: A guide to the everyday use of wild plants. William Collins.
"Saponaria officinalis (Bouncing-bet, Soapwort) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox".
Arndt, Alice (10 August 1999). Seasoning Savvy: How to Cook With Herbs, Spices, and Other Flavorings. Psychology Press. pp. 215–. ISBN 978-1-56022-031-2. Retrieved 3 June 2012.

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