AppearanceReaching a height of 10–40 centimetres, the stem is prostrate to ascending, woody, reddish, quite hairy and very branched. The leaves are ovate to lanceolate, sessile and hairy, 1–3 cm long. The five-petalled flowers are arranged in groups at the ends of branches. They have red or pink petals and blue anthers. The sepals are fused in a tube about an 8 to 10 millimeters long. The flowering period extends from May to August in the Northern Hemisphere. The fruit is an ovoid capsule, up to 9 mm long.
NamingThe Latin specific epithet ''ocymoides'' means “resembling basil”. However the resemblance is superficial, as the two plants are not closely related. In fact ''Saponaria ocymoides'' belongs to the same family as pinks and carnations.
DistributionThis species ranges from the mountains of Spain to Corsica, Sardinia and Slovenia, from the Apennines to the Alps. It grows in rocky and stony places, dry slopes and forests. It prefers calcareous soils, at an altitude of up to 1,500 metres, rarely up to 2,400 metres.
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