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Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)

Baby's breath Synonyms: Gypsophila paniculata L. var. paniculata

Common Names: Bachelor's button, babysbreath

Description: Commonly cultivated for cut and dry floral arrangements; often included in wildflower seed mixes.

Habit: Perennial, finely branched, bushy, 0.4-1 m (15-39 in) tall.

Leaves: Lance-like, with sharply pointed tips; 2-7 cm (1-4 in) long and 0.25-1 cm (0.2-0.4 in) wide; opposite; smaller at top of the stems.

Stems: Smooth; glaucous or somewhat rough near base.

Flowers: Tiny, white or pale reddish in color, 5 petals, 0.15-0.3 in across, located at branch tips, abundant, fragrant; bloom in July through August.

Fruit and seeds: Fruit a rounded capsule, up to 14000 seeds per plant.

Habitat: Native to Europe. Found in disturbed sites, particularly in dunes, prairies and barrens; prefers sunny, slightly alkaline sands.

Reproduction: Primarily by seed; plant breaks off and rolls in wind, dispersing seed widely.

Similar species: Native flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata) but lacks milky sap.

Monitoring and rapid response: Monitor dunes and other sandy areas including roadsides and railroad tracks. Baby?s breath can be controlled by cutting the tap root as far under ground as possible - below the point where the stem meets the root (10 cm deep). If severed above this point, the tap root may resprout. Dispose of cut plants by burning. Spot burning plants with a propane torch also provides effective control, torch until wilting occurs; mature plants will need re-treatment later in the season or in following year.

Credits: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan.

Common Name:

Baby's breath

Scientific Name:

Gypsophila paniculata







USDA Symbol:


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