Definitions

Gypsophila

Gypsophila

[jip-sof-uh-luh]
Gypsophila: see pink.

Gypsophila (Commonly known as Baby's-breath in the United States; elsewhere Gypsophila ) is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. Many species are found on calcium-rich soils, including gypsum, whence the name of the genus. Some species are also sometimes called "baby's breath" or simply, "Gyp", among the floral industry. Its botanical name means "lover of chalk", which is accurate in describing the type of soil in which this plant grows.

They are herbaceous annual and perennial plants growing to 5-120 cm tall. The leaves are opposite, linear to narrow triangular, often falcate (sickle-shaped), 1-7 cm long and 2-8 mm broad. The flowers are produced in large inflorescences, which may be either dense or open and lax; each flower is small, 3-10 mm diameter, with five white or pink petals.Selected species

Cultivation and uses

Gypsophilas are often grown as ornamental plants in gardens; they are grown both as garden plants and also valuable as a cut flower in floristry to add as a filler to flower bouquets. The most commonly encountered in gardens are G. paniculata (a perennial species), G. elegans, and G. muralis (both annual species). They are easily propagated from seed, by cuttings, or by root division before growth starts in the spring. Starting as a tiny seed, the annuals and perennials germinate in ten to fifteen days, and can grow rapidly up to 50 cm in height. While they prefer full sun, along with rich, light soil, deficiencies in poor soil constitution can be overcome by adding a general purpose fertilizer, as long as it is well drained.

Gypsophila paniculata has become an invasive species in parts of North America.

Gypsophila rokejeka is used to provide saponins in the production of halva

Gypsophila species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including three case-bearers of the genus Coleophora which feed on G. fastigiata: C. kyffhusana, C. niveistrigella (both of which feed exclusively on the plant) and C. vicinella.

External links

  • Flowers Flower information about gypsophila and its use in floristry

References

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