from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A perennial herb (Gypsophila struthium) whose root was formerly used as a substitute for soap.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A perennial herb (Gypsophila Struthium) the root of which is used in Spain as a substitute for soap.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A Spanish herb, Gypsophila Struthium, whose root contains saponin. Also called Egyptian or Spanish soaproot.
- n. A Californian bulbous plant, Leucocrinum montanum, of the lily family, bearing white fragrant flowers close to the ground in early spring.
- n. The soapwort, Saponaria officinalis.
- n. The soap-plant, Chlorogalum pomendianum.
On their way back, she searched for a flat, hard stone or piece of wood, and a rounded stone to crush the soaproot and release the saponin, which would foam into a light cleansing lather in the water.
The nearby area and the plants had been so familiar that Ayla was sure she'd be able to find some plant that they could use to wash with, but she was pleasantly surprised to find both soaproot and ceanothus when they went to get the pack baskets and travois with the bowl boat.
"I found some soaproot and washed mine while I was waiting for you."
It felt smooth and slippery, like good soaproot, but more, and my hands got so clean!
The foam from ceanothus wasn't as rich as soaproot lather, but this was a final washing and the pale blue petals left a pleasant mild scent.
It was too early in the year to find lathering soaproot, and the countryside was too open for horsetail fern, which grew in shady damp places.
Ayla was nervous as she raced to dig up soaproot, horsetail fern, and red-rooted pigweed, and her stomach was a bundle of knots while she waited anxiously for boiling water from one of the cooking fires to extract the insecticidal element from the fern.
Iza dug up the red-rooted pigweed and headed for a marshy area beside sluggish backwater and found scouring-rush horsetail ferns and, farther upstream, soaproot.
Finding a round stone she could hold easily in her hand, Iza pounded the soaproot with water in a saucerlike depression of a large flattish rock near the stream.
Perhaps you will look for and dig up the soaproot, that onion-like bulb of one of the lily family with which the Indians make a soapy lather to wash their clothes.