Bouncingbet2017-07-24T21:03:57+00:00

Bouncingbet

Saponaria officinalis L.

Keys to Identification

  • Flowers are clustered at the ends of branches
  • Bouncingbet leaves originate from slightly swollen nodes

This information courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program

Family

Caryophyllaceae (Pink)

Other Names

Soapwort, Lady by the Garden Gate

USDA Code

SAOF4

Legal Status

Colorado Noxious Weed List B

Identification

Lifecycle

Growth form

Perennial forb.

Flower

The flowers are crowded at the ends of branches, and have five petals that are generally pink and slightly notched at the apex. July-Sept.

Seeds/Fruit

Fruits are many-seeded capsules. Seeds are dull-black and roundish or kidney-shaped.

Leaves

Leaves are opposite, smooth, narrow, 2-4 in long and have three distinct veins from the base.

Stems

Mature plants are up to 3 ft tall with stout, erect, smooth, branching stems.

Roots

Rhizomatous root system.

Seedling

No information available.

Similar Species

Exotics

None known.

Natives

Cerastium spp. (mouse-ear) have separate (usually white) petals instead of united petals. Many other members of the pink family appear similar.

Impacts

Agricultural

Can be poisonous to livestock although it is generally considered unpalatable.

Ecological

Spreads rapidly, replacing more valuable species (e.g. perennial grasses).

Habitat and Distribution

General requirements

Often found in large dense patches on hillsides, along river courses, roadsides, meadows, and waste areas. It prefers moist, well-drained soil, and full sun to partial shade and is currently found primarily in municipal areas and nearby wildlands.

Distribution

Scattered throughout the United States. Bouncingbet is increasingly common in Colorado, particularly in residential areas and local open spaces where it has escaped cultivation as an ornamental species.

Historical

Originally introduced from Europe as a garden ornamental and for its saponins, which are the source of it soap-producing qualities (Lokker and Cavers 1995).

Biology/Ecology

Life cycle

Flowering begins in July and continues until September.

Mode of reproduction

Reproduces by seed and spreads clonally by rhizomes.

Seed production

No information available.

Seed bank

No information available.

Dispersal

No information available.

References

Lokker, C. and P.B. Cavers. The effects of physical damage on seed production in flowering plants of Saponaria officinalis. Canadian Journal of Botany 73:235-243.

Whitson, T.D.(ed.), L.C. Burrill, S.A. Dewey, D.W. Cudney, B.E. Nelson, R.D. Lee, R. Parker. 1996. Bouncingbet. Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science, in cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services, Newark, CA.

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