The delimitation of Saponaria and Gypsophila is by no means easy. The presence of a campanulate-turbinate calyx is a constant and diagnostic character, in our species. Therefore, I have preferred to retain Gypsophila bellidifolia (Saponaria barbata Barkudah) & Gypsophila alsinoides (Arenaria bungei Barkoudah) in this genus. Represented in Pakistan by 10 wild and 2 cultivated species, found in the western parts of the country.
Gypsophila paniculata L., Sp. Pl, 407. 1753; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 244. 1972.
Perennial, 40-100 cm tall, glabrous. Stems erect or ascending, branching from the base. Leaves 20-50 x 3-8 mm, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate. Inflorescence a lax panicle. Pedicels filiform. Calyx c. 2 mm, glabrous, campanulate. Petals white, about twice the length of calyx. Seeds tuberculate.
Syntype: Hb. Linn. 579.5 (LINN).
Distribution: E. & C. Europe, Central Asia, W. China, N. America.
Cultivated for ornament in Pakistan. Introduced and naturalised in several countries. English name: Baby’s Breath.
Gypsophila elegans M. Bieb., Fl. Thur.-Cauc. 1:319. 1808; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 244. 1972.
Annual, 20-60 cm tall, glabrous. Stems erect or ascending, thick, branching.
Leaves 20-60 x 4-5 mm, oblanceolate, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate. Inflorescence a lax panicle. Pedicels slender. Calyx 3.5-4 mm, broadly campanulate, nerves green with scarious margins, veined purple. Twice as long as the calyx. Seeds tuberculate.
C-7 Rawalpindi Dist: cult. In Gordon College, April 1936, Sewa Ram s.n. (RAW); ibid., Mohinder Nath s.n. (RAW); Ibid., 1939, Kundan Lal 36 (RAW); D-8 Lahore, cult., March 1957, S.B. Akhtar s.n. (PPFI-B).
Distribution: Caucasus, C. Europe (introduced), Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.