Gypsophila paniculata

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Common Baby's-breath
Gypsophila paniculata.jpg
Gypsophila paniculata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Gypsophila
Species: G. paniculata
Binomial name
Gypsophila paniculata
L.
Close-up view of two Gypsophila paniculata flowers
Use of Gypsophila in flower arrangement

Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath) is a species of flowering plant in the Caryophyllaceae family, native to central and eastern Europe. It is an herbaceous perennial growing to 1.2 m (4 ft) tall and wide, with mounds of branching stems covered in clouds of tiny white flowers in summer (hence the common name "baby's breath").[1] Its natural habitat is on the Steppes in dry, sandy and stony places, often on calcareous soils (gypsophila = "chalk-loving"). Specimens of this plant were first sent to Linnaeus from St Petersburg by the Swiss-Russian botanist Johann Amman.

Cultivation[edit]

It is a popular ornamental garden subject, and thrives in well-drained alkaline to neutral soils in full sun. Numerous cultivars have been selected, of which 'Bristol Fairy'[2] and 'Rosenschleier'[3] (with pale pink double flowers) have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Floristry[edit]

G. paniculata is much-used in the floristry trade (where it is often simply called "gyp") providing an effective backdrop for larger or more structured blooms. It is commercially cultivated in Peru, forming a major portion of that country's flower exports.[4]

Invasive[edit]

Gypsophila paniculata is now widely distributed in North America. [5] It is classed as an invasive species in places around the Great Lakes, such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore [6] and the Chicago region, [7] and in the Pacific Northwest. [8]

References[edit]

Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé
  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  2. ^ http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=891
  3. ^ http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=893
  4. ^ La floricultura en el Perú: La más alta calidad en Gypsphila
  5. ^ PLANTS Profile - Gypsophila paniculata L. - baby's breath, PLANTS Database, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  6. ^ Does removal of Baby’s Breath from Lake Michigan sand dunes restore native plant diversity and ecosystem function?, The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  7. ^ Invasive Plants in the Chicago Region, Chicago Botanic Garden.
  8. ^ Pacific Northwest Noxious Weed List, Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council. Retrieved 6 July 2010.