Gypsophila // is a genus of flowering plants in the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae. They are native to Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Turkey has a particularly high diversity of Gypsophila taxa, with about 35 endemic species. Some Gypsophila are introduced species in other regions.
The genus name is from the Greek gypsos ("gypsum") and philios ("loving"), a reference to the gypsum-rich substrates on which some species grow. Plants of the genus are known commonly as baby's-breath, a name which also refers specifically to the well known ornamental species Gypsophila paniculata.
Gypsophila are annual and perennial herbs often growing from a thick taproot or a branching caudex, sometimes with rhizomes. The stems are usually erect and branching or sprawling, or in a few species prostrate along the ground. The leaves are variable in shape. The inflorescence is usually a cyme or a thyrse, branching intricately. Each small flower has a cup-like calyx of white-edged green sepals containing five petals in shades of white or pink. The fruit is a rounded or oval capsule opening at valves. It contains several brown or black seeds which are often shaped like a kidney or a snail shell.
A few species are commercially cultivated for several uses, including floristry, herbal medicine, and food. The baby's-breath most commonly used in flower arrangements such as bouquets is the common gypsophila, G. paniculata. G. elegans is also used as a cut flower.
The genus is a source of saponins that can be used for many purposes, including the production of photographic film and hemolytic laboratory reagents. Their detergent qualities make them useful in soap and shampoo.
|Gypsophila sp. seeds|
- Gypsophila acutifolia – sharpleaf baby's-breath
- Gypsophila altissima
- Gypsophila aretioides
- Gypsophila arrostii – Arrost's baby's-breath
- Gypsophila bicolor
- Gypsophila capituliflora
- Gypsophila cephalotes
- Gypsophila cerastioides – chickweed baby's-breath
- Gypsophila davurica
- Gypsophila desertorum
- Gypsophila elegans – showy baby's-breath
- Gypsophila fastigiata – fastigiate gypsophila
- Gypsophila glandulosa
- Gypsophila glomerata
- Gypsophila huashanensis
- Gypsophila libanotica
- Gypsophila licentiana
- Gypsophila muralis – annual gypsophila, cushion baby's-breath, low baby's-breath
- Gypsophila nana – dwarf gypsophila
- Gypsophila oldhamiana – Manchurian baby's-breath, Oldham's baby's-breath
- Gypsophila pacifica
- Gypsophila paniculata – baby's-breath, common gypsophila, panicled baby's-breath
- Gypsophila patrinii
- Gypsophila perfoliata – perfoliate gypsophila
- Gypsophila petraea
- Gypsophila pilosa – Turkish baby's-breath
- Gypsophila repens – alpine gypsophila, creeping baby's-breath
- Gypsophila rokejeka
- Gypsophila ruscifolia
- Gypsophila scorzonerifolia – glandular baby's-breath, garden baby's-breath
- Gypsophila sericea
- Gypsophila silenoides
- Gypsophila spinosa
- Gypsophila stevenii – Steven's baby's-breath
- Gypsophila struthium
- Gypsophila tenuifolia
- Gypsophila tschiliensis
- Gypsophila uralensis
- Gypsophila venusta
- Gypsophila viscosa
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- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- Gypsophila at USDA PLANTS Database
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- Gypsophila elegans. Landscape Horticulture. American University of Beirut.
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- GRIN Species Records of Gypsophila. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).