A perennial plant native to Europe, Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) now grows nearly throughout North America as a cultivated plant or garden escapee. Common Soapwort has smooth stems and leaves that are oppositely arranged, with entire margins and a few prominent, parallel ribs. The five-petaled, pink-to-white flowers are clustered near the tops of the plants.* The roots and flowering stems of Common Soapwort can be crushed and mixed with water to produce an effective wild soap. Visit Go Botany for more photos of this plant. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)
Note: Double-petaled (i.e., ten-petaled) varieties also occur.