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Genus Saponaria Family Caryophyllaceae

Description: Erect annual to perennial herbs with stems glabrous to variously hairy, often with saponins.

Leaves glabrous or hairy, sessile to petiolate; stipules absent.

Inflorescence a dichasial cyme; pedicels glabrous or variously hairy. Calyx glabrous or variously hairy, cylindrical in flower, tube without scarious fissures, teeth acute to obtuse. Petals longer than the calyx, appendages present at base of limb. Stamens 10. Ovary 1-locular; styles 2.

Capsule as long as the calyx, opening by 4 teeth; seeds black, reniform, with low rounded tubercles. Garden ornamentals and weeds of disturbed ground.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 species, Europe. Australia: 2 species (naturalized), all States except N.T.

Text by A. Doust
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Perennial, either glabrous or with sparse multicellular hairs, never with glandular hairs; leaves sessile, conspicuously 3-veined; calyx more than 15 mm long, teeth acuteSaponaria officinalis
Annual; glabrous below, glandular-hairy above; upper leaves sessile, basal leaves petiolate, only the midvein conspicuous; calyx less than 15 mm long, teeth obtuseSaponaria calabrica

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