Baby's Breath - Gypsophila paniculata

Description: Baby’s breath was introduced to North America in the late 1800s (Royer and Dickinson 1999). Baby’s breath has an extensive fibrous root system and is found in a wide range of habitats across its range.

Type: perennial

Habitat & Impacts: In the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region, baby’s breath appears to be found exclusively on disturbed sites on warm aspects at low elevations; however it can invade pastures and rangelands.

Method of Spread: seed spread by wind or by plant tumbling. A single baby’s breath plant may produce up to 13,000 seeds and the seeds do not seed bank well. The use of baby’s breath as an ornamental in flower arrangements may lead to infestations in graveyards, roadside memorials or other locations where flowers may be placed. Public education efforts should explain this potential method of invasive plant spread to reduce the potential for these new infestation sites.

Location: found at a number of sites along Highway 97 (within the City of Williams Lake, Sugarcane Reserve, north of Lac La Hache) and Highway 20 around Alexis Creek

Management Options:

Mechanical: Baby’s breath can be controlled by hand pulling small infestations provided the upper portion of the root is removed. Baby’s breath does not tolerate frequent disturbance well and is seldom a problem in cultivated fields. Mowing or grazing early in the season limits the production of seed but does not control existing plants

Chemical: Glyphosate is being used within the region. Dicamba has been recommended for control of baby’s breath in Saskatchewan rangelands. Use of chemicals to control baby’s breath in British Columbia suppresses the plant, but does not necessarily kill it. (Percy Folkard, pers com.).

Biological: There is no biocontrol agent for baby’s breath currently available. .

CCCIPC Priority & Treatment Strategy: Priority 1 (new invader) for all areas except Central Coast where it is ranked N/A (not ecologically suited). Baby’s breath has been designated a priority weed for most of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast for number of reasons. Firstly, the number of infestation sites is low and there is a reasonable expectation of being able to control existing sites. Although the species has not been invasive in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region to date, in other jurisdictions it has become a very serious invader of grasslands, pastures and other open areas. The extensive grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and their ecological significance, need to be protected from baby’s breath infestation before it becomes well established.

Treatment Options:

Local Level - Hand pulling small infestations
Landscape Level - Combination of chemical control and hand pulling for larger sites

Infestation of baby's Breath in Williams Lake in the flowering stage

Baby's Breath tiny white flowers

Mature Baby's Breath Plant


Invasive species profile taken from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee Invasive Plant Regional Strategic Plan

Page last modified: October 30, 2018 09:44:02 PDT