Saponaria officinalis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCaryophyllaceaeSaponariaSaponaria officinalis


This rhizomatous perennial herb is found in a wide range of man-made and marginal habitats, often near habitation, including hedge banks, quarries, roadsides, railway banks, tips and waste ground. It is thoroughly naturalised by streams and in damp woods, especially in S.W. England and N. Wales, where it has sometimes been considered native. Lowland.



World Distribution

As an archaeophyte S. officinalis has a European Temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 890

Height (cm): 90

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1246

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 256

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 9

Atlas Change Index: 0.29

Weighted Changed Factor: 21

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (66c)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1986)