Saponaria Officinalis

Bouncingbet has become naturalized in many parts of North America. It can often be found near abandoned homesteads. Originally from Europe and Asia, this member of the Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae) has been known in North America since at least 1802 and in Colorado since 1890.

Its pink to white flowers are about an inch wide and are grouped at the end of branched stems. Some horticultural varieties have double flowers but most have 4-5 petals. Flowers have a five-pointed calyx that has reddish edges.

These List B perennial plants grow to about three feet tall with oval to lance shaped leaves that attach to the stem. The leaves are about two inches wide and four inches long with three distinct parallel veins.

The stems and rhizomes contain saponins that lather when water is added. It has been used as a soap and as an additive to beer.

Control includes removal of seedlings or using a systemic herbicide. The best time to treat Bouncingbet is at the bolting to early bud stage in late spring to mid-summer.

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