Botanical Name and Pronunciation:
Saponaria officinalis, Saponaria vaccaria (Vaccaria hispanica of Vaccaria pyramidata) (sa-po-NAH-ree-a o-FIS-i-nal-is or o-fis-i-NAY-lis)
Soapwort, Outdoor Gypsophila
pink, white, red
Form and Size:
The leafy and wiry stems of saponaria are 20 – 24 inches long. At stem ends there are small, loosely clustered, star-shaped flowers that have up to a ¾-inch diameter.
7 – 10 days
Remove any leaves from the bottom of the stem that fall below the water line, cut under water and place in fresh water with flower food.
History and Usage:
A member of the Caryophyllaceae (pink) family, saponaria originated in Europe. In colonial times, this flower’s root, stem and leaves were crushed and mixed with water to produce a soap substitute. Its popular and botanical name, saponaria, comes from the word “sapo” which is Latin for soap. This is in reference to the soap that it can be used to make.
Points of Interest:
Relatives of saponaria include carnation, gypsophila, Lychnis, Silene