Skip to main content

Gypsophila L.

Sp.Pl. 2:406 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Subfamily Caryophylloideae, Tribe Caryophylleae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs, or shrubs; non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. ‘Normal’ plants. Leaves well developed. Plants with roots; non-succulent; unarmed. Annual, or perennial. Self supporting. Mesophytic. Not heterophyllous. Leaves small to medium-sized; not fasciculate; opposite; with blades; fleshy, or ‘herbaceous’; sessile; simple; not peltate. Leaf blades entire; flat. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous; abaxially glabrous. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire; flat. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent; glandular hairs absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or functionally male and functionally female (rarely). Unisexual flowers absent, or present (rarely). Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious (rarely). Floral nectaries absent.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence often many-flowered, or few-flowered. Flowers in cymes. Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences terminal. Flowers pedicellate, or subsessile; bracteate; ebracteolate; small; regular; tetracyclic, or tricyclic (rarely). Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla, or sepaline (rarely); 10, or 5; 2 -whorled, or 1 -whorled (rarely); isomerous, or anisomerous (rarely). Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; lobed. Calyx lobes markedly shorter than the tube. Calyx prominently 5 veined; valvate; hemispherical campanulate (or turbinate), or tubular (rarely). Epicalyx absent. Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous; dextrorsely contorted, or imbricate (rarely); white, or pink, or purple. Petals clawed (gradually narrowed into a claw), or sessile. Corolla members entire. Androecium present, or absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 5 (rarely), or 10. Androecial members all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled, or 2 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5 (rarely), or 10; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous (obdiplostemonous). Anthers separate from one another; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent. Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 2(–3); free; simple. Stigmas 2(–3); 1 - lobed. Placentation free central, or basal. Ovules campylotropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit ca 6 mm long; dehiscent; a capsule. Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 4–36 seeded. Perisperm present. Seeds minute, or small.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Holarctic. Native of Australia, or adventive. Endemic to Australia, or not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. 2n=24, 26, 28, 30, 34, 36, 48, 51, 68. A genus of ca 150 species; 1 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

B. Richardson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Blackall, William E.; Grieve, Brian J. 1988. How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part I : Dicotyledons (Casuarinaceae to Chenopodiaceae). University of W.A. Press.. [Perth]..