Gypsophila paniculata, the baby's breath, common gypsophila or panicled baby's-breath, is a species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae, 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"). 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.
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 'Rosenschleier' (with pale pink double flowers) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Gypsophila 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.
Gypsophila paniculata is now widely distributed in North America. It is classed as an invasive species in places around the Great Lakes, such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Chicago region, and in the Pacific Northwest.
Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
- "Gypsophila 'Rosenschleier'". RHS. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
- "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 43. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- "La floricultura en el Perú: La más alta calidad en Gypsphila" (PDF).
- PLANTS Profile - Gypsophila paniculata L. - baby's breath, PLANTS Database, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
- 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.
- Invasive Plants in the Chicago Region, Chicago Botanic Garden.
- Pacific Northwest Noxious Weed List, Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
Media related to Gypsophila paniculata at Wikimedia Commons