Description from Flora of China
Heterochroa Bunge; Psammophila Fourreau; Psammophiliella Ikonnikov; Timaeosia Klotzsch.
Herbs annual or perennial. Stems usually caespitose, erect or diffuse, glabrous or glandular pubescent, sometimes glabrescent or base woody. Leaves opposite, linear, lanceolate, ovate, oblong, spatulate, or sometimes subulate or subfleshy. Flowers numerous, bisexual, small, borne in dichasial cymes, corymbs, or panicles, sometimes aggregated into capitula; bracts usually scarious, rarely leaflike. Calyx green or purple veined, white membranous between veins, campanulate or funnelform, rarely cylindric, glabrous or puberulous, veins broad, apex 5-toothed. Petals 5, white or pink, sometimes purple veined, oblong or obovate, longer than calyx, base usually cuneate, apex entire, truncate, or retuse. Stamens 10. Ovary globose or ovoid, 1-loculed; ovules numerous. Styles 2(or 3). Gynophore absent. Capsule globose, ovoid, or oblong, 4-valved. Seeds subreniform, compressed, tuberculate; hilum lateral; embryo annular; radicle prominent.
Gypsophila elegans Marschall von Bieberstein, native to SW Asia and SE Europe, is cultivated in China as an ornamental.
About 150 species: mainly in temperate Asia and Europe, fewer species in NE Africa (Egypt), Australia, and North America; 17 species (four endemic) in China.
(Authors: Lu Dequan; Nicholas J. Turland)