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Vascular Plants of California
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Gypsophila vaccaria

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CaryophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: PINK FAMILY
Habit: Annual to perennial herb; rarely dioecious (Silene), taprooted or rhizome generally slender. Leaf: simple, generally opposite (subwhorled), entire, pairs at nodes often +- connected at bases; stipules generally 0; petiole generally 0. Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally open; flowers 1--many; involucre generally 0 (present in most Dianthus, Petrorhagia). Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium often present but obscure; sepals (4)5, +- free or fused into a tube, margins generally scarious, more so on inner 2 or not, tube generally not scarious, awns generally 0; petals (4)5 or 0, generally tapered to base (or with claw long, limb expanded), entire to 2--several-lobed, limb generally without scale-like appendages adaxially, generally without ear-like lobes at base; stamens generally 10, generally fertile, generally free, generally from ovary base; nectaries 0 or 5; ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, placentas basal or free-central, styles 2--5 with 0 branches or 1 with 2--3 branches. Fruit: capsule or utricle (rarely +- dehiscent), generally sessile. Seed: appendage generally 0 (present in Moehringia).
Genera In Family: +- 100 genera, 3000 species: widespread, especially arctic, alpine, temperate northern hemisphere; some cultivated (Agrostemma, Arenaria, Atocion, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Sagina, Saponaria, Silene). Note: Apetalous Caryophyllaceae can also be keyed in Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:5--8. Taxa of Minuartia in TJM2 treated here in Cherleria and Sabulina; Pseudostellaria in Hartmaniella and Torreyostellaria; Vaccaria in Gypsophila; Velezia in Dianthus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman (deceased) & Richard K. Rabeler, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin & Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: GypsophilaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: BABY'S-BREATH
Habit: Annual to perennial herb, erect, taprooted or rhizomed. Leaf: blade +- lanceolate to oblong or ovate; veins 1--3, often faint. Inflorescence: generally panicle-like, terminal; flowers +- few to many; pedicels 1--40+ mm. Flower: sepals 5, fused, glabrous or glandular-hairy, tube +- prominent, +- 1.3--17 mm, 0.8--9 mm diam, cup- to bell-shaped or cylindric to urn-shaped, round to angled or keeled in ×-section, white-scarious between sepals or not, veins +- 5, teeth 0.2--3 mm, < tube, lanceolate or ovate to triangular; petals 5, +- 1--10 or (11)15--25 mm, white or light pink to purplish; claw barely differentiated or long, limb entire to notched; styles 2, 1.2--2.5 or 10--12 mm. Fruit: capsule, oblong to ovoid or spheric; teeth 4, ascending to recurved. Seed: 2--several, red-brown to black.
Etymology: (Greek: gypsum lover, from habitat of 1 sp.)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman (deceased) & Richard K. Rabeler
Reference: Pringle 2005 FNANM 5:153--156; Madhani et al. 2018 Taxon 67:83--112
Gypsophila vaccaria (L.) Sm.
Habit: Annual (8)20--100 cm, glabrous, glaucous, taprooted. Leaf: blade 8--30 mm wide, petioled or not, lanceolate to ovate, base rounded to cordate-clasping. Inflorescence: +- flat-topped, open; flowers 10--70+; pedicels glabrous. Flower: calyx tube 7.5--17 mm, 1.5--9 mm diam, cylindric to urn-shaped, angles or keels 5, each with +- green wing < 1 mm wide, glabrous, teeth 1.5--3 mm, ovate to triangular; petals (11)15--25 mm, limb oblanceolate to obovate or obcordate, pink to +- red; styles 10--12 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=30.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 2800 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoR, CaRH, c SNF, n SNH, Teh, ScV, CW, SCo, PR, GB; Distribution Outside California: +- North America; native to Eurasia, Mediterranean. Flowering Time: May--Aug Note: Likely eradicated from grain fields.
Synonyms: Saponaria hispanica Mill.; Saponaria vaccaria L.; Vaccaria segetalis (Necker) Asch.; Vaccaria hispanica (Mill.) Rauschert
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald L. Hartman (deceased) & Richard K. Rabeler
Reference: Pringle 2005 FNANM 5:153--156; Madhani et al. 2018 Taxon 67:83--112
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Gypsophila scorzonerifolia
Next taxon: Hartmaniella

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Botanical illustration including Gypsophila vaccaria

botanical illustration including Gypsophila vaccaria

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Citation for this treatment: Ronald L. Hartman (deceased) & Richard K. Rabeler 2012, Gypsophila vaccaria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

No expert verified images found for Gypsophila vaccaria.

Geographic subdivisions for Gypsophila vaccaria:
KR, NCoR, CaRH, c SNF, n SNH, Teh, ScV, CW, SCo, PR, GB
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).