The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Gypsophila davurica is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Although no mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus has a root that is rich in saponins[
Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish and make them easy to catch[
E. Asia - Northern China, Mongolia, Siberia.
Steppe meadows and gravelly steppe slopes[
]. Hills, dry rocky slopes, steppes and fixed dunes[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in at least the milder areas of this country. It is likely to require a dry, sunny position in a well-drained soil[
]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Requires a well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Lime tolerant, it grows well in a dryish soil[
Root - cooked. It requires treatment and is used as an emergency food when all else fails[
]. The type of treatment is not given, it is likely to be some sort of leaching or a long cooking period in order to remove or destroy saponins[
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and, if growth is sufficient, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant them out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Basal cuttings before the plant flowers. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.