Soapwort - Saponaria officinalis


The plant possesses leafy, unbranched, often straggling stems (sometimes tinged with red). It grows in patches, attaining a height of 70 cm. The broad, lanceolate, sessile leaves are opposite and between 4 and 12 cm long. Its sweetly scented flowers are pink, or sometimes white. Each of the five flat petals has two small scales in the throat of the corolla. They are about 2.5 cm wide, arranged in terminal clusters. The long tubular calyx has five pointed red teeth.

They are occasionally double flowered ('flore pleno')

Identification difficulty

Waysides and verges.

When to see it

Flowers June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread as an occasional casual in much of Britain, but quite rare in Scotland.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland usually as a casual and often short lived. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 17 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as Alien (archaeophyte), occasional

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map