hydrated calcium sulfate. Sometimes recommended as a soil conditioner or a source of calcium.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
gypsum (noun)
a widely distributed mineral consisting of hydrous calcium sulfate that is used especially as a soil amendment and in making plaster of paris
- drywall
gypsum (Wikipedia)

Gips - Lubin, Poland..jpg
CategorySulfate minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification7.CD.40
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Crystal classPrismatic (2/m)
H-M symbol: (2/m)
Space groupMonoclinic
Space group: I2/a
Unit cella = 5.679(5), b = 15.202(14)
c = 6.522(6) [Å]; β = 118.43°; Z = 4
ColorColorless to white; may be yellow, tan, blue, pink, brown, reddish brown or gray due to impurities
Crystal habitMassive, flat. Elongated and generally prismatic crystals
TwinningVery common on {110}
CleavagePerfect on {010}, distinct on {100}
FractureConchoidal on {100}, splintery parallel to [001]
TenacityFlexible, inelastic
Mohs scale hardness1.5–2 (defining mineral for 2)
LusterVitreous to silky, pearly, or waxy
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent
Specific gravity2.31–2.33
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive indexnα = 1.519–1.521
nβ = 1.522–1.523
nγ = 1.529–1.530
Birefringenceδ = 0.010
2V angle58°
SolubilityHot, dilute HCl
Major varieties
Satin sparPearly, fibrous masses
SeleniteTransparent and bladed crystals
AlabasterFine-grained, slightly colored

Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is widely mined and is used as a fertilizer and as the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard/sidewalk chalk, and drywall. A massive fine-grained white or lightly tinted variety of gypsum, called alabaster, has been used for sculpture by many cultures including Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and the Nottingham alabasters of Medieval England. Gypsum also crystallizes as translucent crystals of selenite. It also forms as an evaporite mineral and as a hydration product of anhydrite.

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness defines hardness value 2 as gypsum based on scratch hardness comparison.

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