Himalayan Baby's Breath
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Himalayan Baby's Breath
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Himalayan Baby's Breath, Chickweed baby's-breath
Botanical name: Acanthophyllum cerastioides    Family: Caryophyllaceae (Carnation family)
Synonyms: Gypsophila cerastioides, Timaeosia rupestris, Timaeosia cerastioides

Himalayan Baby's Breath is a charming little wildflower which can be seen peeping out of rocks in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Bhutan. It is closely related to the Baby's Breath which is used by florists as a filler in bouquets. It is a low-growing perennial herb with spreading stems, 8-20 cm long, bearing small, inverted-egg shaped leaves, and with numerous white flowers, often streaked with purple, borne in rounded branched clusters 1-2 cm across. Flowers are variable in size, can be as large as 1 cm across. Petals are inverted-egg shaped, shallowly notched at the tips. Sepals are hairy, stamens are 10 in number. Leaves are hairy, about 0.6-1.5 cm. Lower leaves have stalks, upper ones are stalkless. Himalayan Baby's Breath is found on river-banks, rocks and open slopes in the Himalayas at altitudes of 2100-4700 m. Flowering: May-July.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed around McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh & Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim.

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