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Baby’s Breath: From Unlikely Invader to Bouquet Filler
Despite its name, baby’s breath is far from delicate. Check out Groupon’s guide to learn more about this bouquet staple.
The ubiquity of baby’s breath—the tiny, ice-white flowers that make up so many corsages and bouquets—is somewhat ironic. Although it blossoms in gardens and flower shops across North America, the fast-growing perennial, native to central and eastern Europe, is classified as an invasive species in many states. Even its scientific name, Gypsophila paniculata, is remarkably unromantic; gypsophila means chalk lover, a reference to the dry, alkaline soil in which the plant thrives.
According to popular lore, the transformation of baby’s breath from noxious weed to beloved bouquet staple is due in large part to the gardeners of Victorian England. The flower’s lush, misty appearance and ability to thrive with little care made it a prized filler in 19th-century ornamental gardens, and its delicate fragrance inspired the sentimental moniker. Although some traditions surrounding the plant have faded—such as wearing it to signify innocence or purity of heart—baby’s breath’s classic connotations make its presence in bridal arrangements and boutonnieres likely to endure.