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Gypsophila paniculata - Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Login Logout
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Gypsophila paniculata

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Close-up view of two Gypsophila paniculata flowers
Use of Gypsophila in flower arrangement

Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath, common gypsophila, panicled 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 Template:Convert tall and wide, with mounds of branching stems covered in clouds of tiny white flowers in summer (hence the common name "baby's breath").<ref name=RHSAZ>Template:Cite book</ref> 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

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'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and 'Rosenschleier'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> (with pale pink double flowers) have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Floristry

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.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Invasive

Gypsophila paniculata is now widely distributed in North America. <ref>PLANTS Profile - Gypsophila paniculata L. - baby's breath, PLANTS Database, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 6 July 2010.</ref> It is classed as an invasive species in places around the Great Lakes, such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore <ref>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.</ref> and the Chicago region, <ref>Invasive Plants in the Chicago Region, Chicago Botanic Garden.</ref> and in the Pacific Northwest. <ref>Pacific Northwest Noxious Weed List, Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council. Retrieved 6 July 2010.</ref>

References

Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé

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