Gypsophila paniculata - L.
Tall Baby's-breath
Other Common Names: baby's breath
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Gypsophila paniculata L. (TSN 20293)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.143368
Element Code: PDCAR0A040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pink Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Caryophyllales Caryophyllaceae Gypsophila
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Gypsophila paniculata
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (12Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Florida (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Maine (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New York (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Washington (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, FLexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, MA, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MTexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, SDexotic, UTexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath) is established across most of the northeast and also in Florida, as well as in most of the western U.S. It was originally introduced into North America as a garden ornamental and is used extensively by the flower industry in prepared bouquets. Gypsophila paniculata mainly colonizes disturbed areas, preferring full sun and slightly alkaline sands. In Michigan, Gypsophila paniculata is negatively impacting the freshwater dunes along the Great Lakes and threatening rare plants that are restricted to this habitat. In Washington and Oregon, Gypsophila paniculata is classified as red alert - high potential to spread. Apparently, Gypsophila paniculata is having most of its negative impacts in Michigan and in some western grasslands but more information is needed from other areas. Once established, Gypsophila paniculata forms dense stands and is difficult to control.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 21Jun2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to central and eastern Europe and western temperate Asia (GRIN 2001).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: In Michigan, Gysophila paniculata is found on sandy roadsides, fields, shores, ditches, railroad embankments, and freshwater dunes (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of changes in abiotic ecosystem processes or system-wide parameters found in the literature; assumption is that any alterations are not significant or major/irreversible.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: A much branched dome-shaped and tumbleweed-like perennial herb that grows from 2 to 4 feet tall (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: In Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Gypsophila paniculata quickly spreads through the dunes and displaces native plants (NPS 2002). Allelopathic effects were not found in experiments; however, it was noted that in the micro-environment around large plants, grasses exhibited reduced growth rates (Robson 2003).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:High/Low significance
Comments: In Northern Michigan, Gypsophila paniculata is invading the habitat occupied by Cirsium pitcheri, a federally threatened species, endemic to the Great Lakes (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Gypsophila paniculata is a potential threat to Tanasetum huronense at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (USFS 2002). Apparently, Gypsophila paniculata may be strongly outcompeting these rare plants.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:High/Moderate significance
Comments: In Northern Michigan, Gypsophila paniculata is invading the habitat occupied by Cirsium pitcheri, a federally threatened species, endemic to the Great Lakes (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Gypsophila paniculata is a potential threat to Tanasetum huronense at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (USFS 2002). The ecologically sensitive special dune area of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is habitat for Cirsium pitcheri and piping plover and is threatened by Gypsophila paniculata (NPS 2002). Gypsophila paniculata is a also a potential threat to Tanasetum huronense at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (USFS 2002). The open dunes community in Michigan (G3) is threatened by Gypsophila paniculata (Albert 1999). These species and communities are of conservation significance.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Established across most of the northeast and also in Florida, as well as most of the west, except the southwest (Kartesz 1999). Distribution is patchy in most states (Baldwin et al. 2004, Rice 2004, Rocky Mountain Herbarium 1998, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004, Iverson et al. 1999, Weldy et al. 2002, University of Tennessee Herbarium 2002, and Wunderlin and Hansen 2004, Voss 1985).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance
Comments: In the northeastern U.S., occasionally escaped (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). In Michigan, Gypsophila paniculata is often abundant where found (Voss 1985). Gypsophila paniculata is common in the southern third of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Loope et al. 1995). In Washington and Oregon, Gypsophila paniculata is classified as Red alert - high potential to spread (WNPS 1997). Gypsophila paniculata is not listed on the California EPPC list of exotic pest plants of greatest ecological concern (CALEPPC 1999). In California, it occurs in disturbed areas and infestations are widely scattered (Hickman 1993). Apparently, Gypsophila paniculata is having most of its negative impacts in Michigan and in some western grasslands.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High/Moderate significance
Comments: At most 70% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001). At least 20% of units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Gypsophila paniculata occurs in pastures and rangeland in the western U.S. (Whitson et al. 1996). It thrives in semi-disturbed areas of native grasslands in the west (Robson 2003). In Michigan, Gysophila paniculata is found on sandy roadsides, fields, shores, ditches, railroad embankments, and freshwater dunes (Randall and Marinelli 1996). In California, it occurs in disturbed areas (Hickman 1993).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Generalized range already covers northern portion of region (Kartesz 1999). Gypsophila paniculata colonizes disturbed areas, preferring full sun and slightly alkaline sands (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Occurs in disturbed areas; assumption is that disturbed areas are not declining and therefore this species' total range is not declining.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Inferred from USDA (1990) and Kartesz (1999), 30-90% of its potential generalized range in the U.S. is currently occupied.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Insignificant
Comments: The fruit of Gypsophila paniculata is a capsule (Cavers 1995). Seeds are dispersed in tumbleweed fashion (Robson 2003). In Saskatchewan, wind was the most important agent of seed dispersal; during he latter part of the fruit developmenmt, the shoots became brittle and dry and plants broke off at the base and were blown away (Cavers 1995). Most of the seeds dropped near the parent plant but some capsules did not open completely and the seeds were carried for distance of nearly 1 km (Cavers 1995).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: Gypsophila paniculata colonizes disturbed areas, preferring full sun and slightly alkaline sands (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Occurs in disturbed areas; assumption is that disturbed areas are not decreasing or remaining stable and therefore this species' local range is not decreasing or remaining stable.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Gypsophila paniculata colonizes disturbed areas, preferring full sun and slightly alkaline sands (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: In Canada, Gysophila paniculata occurs in sandy submarginal farmlands, roadside drainage ditches, vacant lots, fence-lines, lightly grazed pasture on stablized sand dunes, and in a grove of Populus tremuloides; the largest infestations of the species occur in the southern portion of the three most western provinces (Cavers 1995). These are similar habitats to those its invaded in the U.S.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In North Dakota, a single plant produced 13,700 seeds (Caver 1995). The only type of vegetative reproduction observed was an increase in the number of shoots per plant associated with an increase in the diameter of the caudex (Caver 1995). The vigor of G. paniculata was not measurably reduced by mowing or clipping (Cavers 1995).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Once established, it forms dense stands and is difficult to control (Whitson et al. 1996). The Michigan Chapter of TNC found that severing the caudex of individual plants about 10 cm below the ground surface showed some control; control with the herbicide "Roundup" was also tried (Loope et al. 1995). Limited research suggests that Gypsophila paniculata is susceptible to a number of herbicides (Cavers 1995). Early in the growing season, a propane torch can be used to control this species by spot burning individual plants (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Severing the caudex from the root was very effective in destroying G. paniculata plants in Saskatchewan (Cavers 1995). Mowing does not result in any noticeable decrease in population size (Cavers 1995). Mature plants are characterized by a thick, deep-penetrating root system (Cavers 1995).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In North Dakota, a single plant produced 13,700 seeds (Caver 1995). Mature plants are characterized by a thick, deep-penetrating root system (Cavers 1995).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Low significance
Comments: Roundup is non-selective and can kill beneficial species (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Presumeably there may be some impacts.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath) was originally introduced into North America as a garden ornamental and is used extensively by the flower industry in prepared bouquets (Cavers 1995). It can reduce the crude protein content in fields it infests (Cavers 1995) and is a problem in rangelands. Presumeably there may be some areas that are inaccessible but at the same time presumeably accessibility is not a great problem.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Loope, W. L, C. L. Siterlet, and A. P. McKenna. 1995. Distribution and experimental management of Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath) within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, phase 1: initial assessment and plot establishment, summer 1995. National Park Service.

  • National Park Service. 2002. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Michigan, Newsletter 4, General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement, Alternatives including the Preliminary Preferred, Spring 2002. U.S. Department of the Interior. Online. Available: planning.nps.gov/document/ACF1CA.pdf (accessed 2004).

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