Baby's Breath

Gypsophila paniculata L.

Synonyms -

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Names:

Gypsophila is from the Greek gypsos meaning plaster of Paris and philos meaning lover and refers to the love of limestone soils shown by some species.

Other Names:

Summary:

A delicate, airy, many branched, perennial, tumbleweed like herb about 1 m round with a profusion of tiny, 5 petal, flowers in summer. The opposite leaves are small and grey-green on long wiry stems. It has a woody rhizome.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Stipules -
Petiole -
Blade -
Stem leaves -

Stems:

Flower head:

Flowers:

Ovary -
Sepals - 5 ribbed.
Petals -
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Seeds:

Roots:

Key Characters:

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial herb.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

Flowering times:

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Origin and History:

Europe. Siberia.

Distribution:

SA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Prefers full sun.

Soil:

Prefers slightly alkaline sands.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental.

Detrimental:

Weed of disturbed areas, roadsides, coastal areas and freshwater dunes.
Invasive weed of the USA.

Toxicity:

Suspected of poisoning stock and reported to contain a saponin.

Symptoms:

Treatment:

Remove stock from infestation. Don't feed garden refuse containing Gypsophila to stock.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Plant trees or shrubs to increase the shade.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Cut the root at least 100 mm below ground level with a shovel then remove the top growth leaving the root in place to monitor for re shooting. Retreat as required.
Burning the top growth with a flame thrower is also used early in the growing season.
More work is required on control with herbicides.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Chalkwort (Gypsophila tubulosa = Gypsophila australis)
Perfolia Chalkwort (Gypsophila perfoliata)
Carnations.

Plants of similar appearance:

References:

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P169. Diagram.

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Gardner, G.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956). The toxic plants of Western Australia. (West Australian Newspapers Ltd, Perth). P28.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #473.2.

Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P78. Photo.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.