Saponaria officinalis (Bouncing Bet)
|Also known as:||Soapwort|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil; roadsides, ditches, fields, edges of streams, woodland edges|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A small group of flowers cluster at the top of the stem and at the end of branches arising from the upper leaf axils. Flowers are about 1 inch across, 5 notched petals that spread out, then back as the flower ages. The color ranges from pink to white. 10 stamens and a long, 2-parted style protrude from the center.
Behind the flower is a slender, tubular, light green to reddish calyx about 1 inch long with 5 short triangular teeth at the tip, straight across at the base, and usually smooth, sometimes minutely hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are generally oval or egg-shaped with blunt or pointed tips, up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, with 3 prominent parallel veins and little or no stalk. The leaf edges are smooth and often somewhat wavy. Attachment is opposite, sometimes with smaller leaves growing from the leaf axils. Stems are erect, smooth, may be branched in the upper plant and single or multiple from the base.
The calyx persists and holds a capsule of numerous
Bouncing Bet is likely under-reported in Minnesota. The flowers resemble those of a Phlox, but the leaves with 3 prominent, parallel veins easily distinguish it.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Hubbard and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2013-07-14 17:17:48
Snuffys Landing Becker MN
on: 2015-07-28 20:11:20
A very full, fluffy triple-petaled version of this wildflower in a rich pale pink blooms everywhere in the rural ditches near Dundas, MN. It is lightly fragrant during the day but at night has a rich, haunting smell like very sweet grape juice. I have found this planted in front of pre-1900's old graves and wonder if this beautiful extra double form might have been gradually selected by gardeners. Perhaps it escaped from gardens and cemeteries near by.
on: 2015-08-27 13:23:24
This grows weedy throughout the twin cities metro area. Happy to have finally figured out the species, as it has been stumping me for some time! I was checking the Silene and Phlox genus for answers.
on: 2016-07-21 10:34:44
Noticed this blooming on July 20th in Duluth MN in Chester Park and elsewhere. The variant I found displays several six-petaled flowers amongst a greater number of five-petaled flowers.
on: 2017-07-12 14:37:27
Found along township road, July 2017.
on: 2017-07-20 13:27:17
Bouncing Bet is now in many places around Staples, MN - saw large areas covered with blooming plants when visiting a rare native plant community in a nearby WMA north of Staples (July 18, 2017). Seemed to be many other invasive plants mixed in with flowering desirable native plants along the roadsides.
on: 2017-07-28 13:41:16
First time it has shown itself here on our property. Twenty plants with pale pink blooms. Growing along roadside ditch amongst the raspberries and vetches.
on: 2017-08-03 14:43:37
Saw Bouncing Bet yesterday growing along the ditch down my street. First time I have noticed it. At first glance I thought it was a type of campion plant, but the flowers looked different, so I took photos to ID at home. August 2, 2017.
on: 2018-07-10 17:52:56
A cluster of this just showed up along the edge of our backyard prairie garden.
on: 2018-07-10 23:18:44
I noticed these plants in a horse pasture a mile southwest of Long Prairie in early July this year.
on: 2018-08-18 08:27:43
This is growing in a couple of flower beds at a golf course. I am trying to eliminate it. The plant is sending rhizomes every where! It comes up through hostas and lilies. It is a very invasive plant.
on: 2019-07-10 21:56:12
Have a large one growing in my front yard.
on: 2019-07-14 08:54:40
This is easily misidentified as a campion! Spreads easily and quickly in twin cities climate. Dominates the area once one plant establishes.
on: 2019-07-16 00:47:53
On the left hand side of the road going down to the boat launch. Took me three hours to figure out it has both single and double flowers. This one was a double.
on: 2019-07-22 19:42:24
July 20, 2019...Blooming in and around the town of Bena, MN. Very pretty double flowering, pale pink in color.
on: 2019-07-22 20:28:06
Large numbers of these blooming 22-Jul-2019 in the mowed shoulder along Cass CR 10 (Scenic Byway) to Pennington, as well as along Smurler Road SE.
on: 2019-07-29 22:23:36
Its been growing for the last 3 yrs in my flower beds around the house. Never planted them. Let them show themselves before deciding if weed or keeper. Decided to was a keeper. More have popped up since.
on: 2019-07-31 09:42:40
On the Munger Trail near Aitkinson. A few plants with single white flowers in full sun.
on: 2019-09-03 17:23:31
Very pretty light pink flowers where the hill meets the beach. (Read: very sandy soil and lots of sun.) Starting to spread like crazy, tho.
on: 2020-06-11 13:45:48
I first saw this at our abandoned family's homestead in northern Nebraska, and my mom said she remembered playing among these flowers when she was a little girl. Besides being like white phlox, they smell sweet & I was happy to find them growing "volunteer" (a.k.a. wild) around my house in Minnesota. If you ever get them started you will have them for as long as you want.
on: 2020-07-13 13:08:04
ON the north end by the parking lot
on: 2021-07-11 00:06:38
I saw a good bit of this plant in flower along the road cut at Magelssen Bluff Park in Rushford on July 6, 2021. An additional comment that I can make is that the road cut is also a spectacular site for native species.
on: 2021-07-17 14:19:36
The previous resident planted a small garden with soap wort.
on: 2021-07-26 21:57:36
There's a little clump of this growing along a creek near my house. It smells great, and the pollinators love it. For now, it isn't spreading very aggressively, and seems quite beneficial to the insects in the area.
on: 2021-07-28 18:50:33
Peter, your patch may not be spreading aggressively now, but it easily could in the near future. It may appear beneficial to insects but that could be due to a lack of native plants. There really is nothing about bouncing bet that justifies keeping it around. Native plants would be more beneficial in the long run.
on: 2021-08-04 18:25:24
Found growing along the Crow Creek where the Superior Hiking Trail crosses. A few specimens downstream of Lake CR 3.
on: 2021-08-20 18:45:16
This popped up in my container I am growing mint in. Pretty flowers. I am really focusing on developing native pollinator plants but the bees, hummingbirds like these too. It seems like this has been a rough summer for pollinators so I'm hesitant to take any food away right now.
on: 2021-09-24 08:58:57
I have this growing in a small bed at the south side of my tiny old farm house. It has been there since before I bought the house...I tried digging up the little raised bed a few years ago and that seemed to produce a bumper crop of the droopy but, kind of pretty double petaled variety...because it was an unusual mystery plant to me I have been wondering about it...guess I could make some soap with it! I was interested to find that it is added to tahini as an emulsifier...had not noticed a scent...but, will check that out next...
on: 2022-05-29 16:52:27
I've been a prairie care volunteer at Wild River State Park since 1998 and have seen this plant on slopes close to the river north of the boat launch. It has little competition there as erosive sand offers poor root establishment, but is not well-established from what I've seen elsewhere there.
on: 2022-05-29 17:54:23
Dan, the best way to update distribution maps is to submit a specimen to the Bell Herbarium, then it becomes part of the official record.
on: 2022-07-12 11:31:49
I found Soapwort in the park not far from County Road H2. It is also present in the roadside ditch.
on: 2022-07-20 22:01:23
Spotted quite a bit of this at Sibley State Park at one of the small canoe/kayak lakes.
on: 2022-07-27 14:45:23
We have some patches of soapwort along the Bog Walk Trail at Lake Bemidji State Park.
on: 2022-07-29 21:21:23
Flowers are pink, drying to pale lavender.
on: 2022-08-16 09:17:54
Saw this along the Root River Park river path on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
on: 2023-04-25 10:34:25
In ditches. White. I collected seed and broadcast on my little prairie. It is taking over the natives. Wondering how to get rid of it.