Soapwort is native to Europe. It was introduced as an ornamental but escaped and now grows throughout most of the United States and Canada.
S. officinalis contains saponin glycosides and will foam if crushed and rubbed. In the past leaves from this plant were gathered and either soaked or boiled in water resulting in a liquid soap. It has
been used to treat a variety of ailments, but because of its saponin content is considered toxic to livestock. Medical research into possible uses for soapwort continues.
Habitat: Gravel and sand bars along streams, ditches, waste ground, roadsides, railroads. Neither Jo nor I had ever noticed soapwort growing on our place until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered a cluster growing in a low spot along the winter creek behind our house. It may have been growing there in the past, but was not readily visible. Brush and broken limb clearing following this years ice storm opened up that area.