Ontario Weeds: Bouncingbet
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Bouncingbet, Saponaria officinalis
Other Names: saponaire officinale, Bouncing
Bet, Soapwort, saponaire officinale, savonière, herbe à
Family: Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae)
General Description: Perennial, reproducing
by seed and by spreading underground stems, often forming dense
patches. Underground parts very coarse and almost woody.
Photos and Pictures
Stems & Roots: Stems 30-120cm
(1-4ft) high, smooth, very leafy.
Leaves: Opposite (2 per node), ovate
or elliptic, rounded or tapered towards both ends, with 3 to 5 prominent
lengthwise veins on the underside.
Flowers & Fruit: Flower bright,
showy, white to pinkish, clustered in a thick short-branched inflorescence;
sepals united in a tubular calyx with many (usually 20), fine, lengthwise
veins and 5 very short teeth, petals 5 or many in "doubled
flowers," usually fragrant; seedpods cylindrical, enclosed
in the calyx; seeds dull black, roundish kidney-shaped, 1.5mm (1/16in.)
across, and rough. Flowers from midsummer to late autumn.
Habitat: Bouncingbet is common throughout
southern Ontario occurring along roadsides, in waste places and
old building sites, but only occasionally in fields and pastures.
Similar Species: It is distinguished by
growing in thick patches, its smooth stems with opposite leaves,
its dense inflorescence, and smooth, cylindrical calyx tube with
Caution: The leaves and seeds of Bouncingbet
contain saponins (soap-like natural chemicals) which can be poisonous
to livestock. Indeed, the leaves were used by early settlers as
a poor but effective substitute for soap.
... on general Weed
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA
Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA
Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control
to the Ontario Weeds Gallery |