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Snow-on-the-mountain Euphorbia marginata


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© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Family: Euphorbiaceae, Spurge view all from this family

Description Grown as much for its foliage as for its flowers, Snow-on-the-mountain has small but showy leaves that may be light green, variegated, or entirely white. They clasp erect, many-branched stems that grow 1-3 ft. tall. Tiny flowers, each with whitish, petal-like bracts, are borne in clusters atop the stems.

Warning Plant parts (fresh or dried) and extracts made from them can be toxic if ingested to both humans and cattle. Ingestion causes inflammtion or blistering of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Contact with plant can cause irritation of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.

Flower August - October.

Flower August - October

Habitat Dry slopes; disturbed prairies; roadsides.

Range Montana to New Mexico, east to s. Minnesota, w. Iowa, w. Missouri, and Texas; naturalized in waste areas east to the Atlantic.

Comments Snow-on-the-mountain tolerates moist to dry conditions. If kept pinched, the plants become full and bushy.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution Montana to New Mexico, e. to s. Minnesota, w. Iowa, w. Missouri & Texas; naturalized in waste areas e. to the Atlantic

Site Preference Dry slopes; disturbed prairies; roadsides

Soil Preference Various soils.

Wildlife Value This plant has no forage value for wildlife and is usually considered poisonous. Mourning doves eat the seeds without being harmed.