Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria officinalis_Bouncingbet_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Lychnis saponaria Jessen

Common names: bouncing-bet; bouncing betty; soapwort; goodbye summer

Saponaria officinalis (bouncing-bet) is a perennial (family Caryophyllaceae)  that is native to Europe and Siberia. It has escaped gardens where it has been grown as an ornamental and medicinal plant and is now broadly naturalized across the continental United State. In California it is especially problematic near Mono Lake. Bouncing-bet can be distinguished by its showy white to pink clustered, five-petaled flowers, and its unbranched, upright stature (growing to 0.7 m), rhizomatous habit, sessile, opposite leaves, and frequently red-tinged stems. It can invade disturbed sites, agricultural habitats, grasslands, and stream sides, where it outcompetes native vegetation. Bouncing-bet is considered poisonous if ingested because of its high saponin content.


Cal-IPC Rating: Limited?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

There are no newsletter articles associated with this species yet.

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Saponaria officinalis Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Saponaria officinalis_flowers_copyright2009_NealKramer
    Saponaria officinalis (bouncing-bet) flowers. Photo: &#169 2009 Neal Kramer
    Saponaria officinalis_growth habit_copyright2009_NealKramer
    Saponaria officinalis (bouncing-bet) growth habit. Photo: &#169 2009 Neal Kramer