Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's time for a little science experiment, boys and girls. I have it on good authority that soapwort got its name because it will make suds in water. I think we need to test that, don't you? I gathered a few soapwort leaves:

Of course I don't make a habit of pillaging our precious, limited wilderness areas, but I also have it on good authority that soapwort is not a native species, so I allowed myself a minor pillage.

I prepared three jars, each containing 125 ml of cold water:

The first jar served as the control jar, with nothing but water. In the second I put a couple of soapwort leaves, and in the third a few drops of liquid soap. I shook the second and third jars twenty times each. (Twenty = Highly Scientific Number, chosen entirely at random.)

The liquid soap foamed up nicely, but the soapwort? Nothin'. I added a few more leaves and some flowers for good measure, and shook it quite a bit longer:

Still no sign of suds. On to Phase 2 of the experiment! I prepared three scraps of cloth, each stained with chocolate sauce and ketchup:

Each bit of cloth went into a jar and received twenty scientific shakes. All the water was murky afterwards:

I removed the bits of cloth and compared the results. Water on the left, soapwort in the middle, liquid soap on the right:

Finally, I rinsed each scrap in water and squeezed it out:

I don't know how well this comes across in the pictures, but -- blow me down! The soapwort is a clear winner, despite its lack of sudsing ability. Nature wins!

1 comment:

Ontario Wanderer said...

Interesting science. I've wondered about Soapwort but never done the experiment. I may have to try out some of the plants on our property now. Thanks for sharing!