Euphorbia bicolor Engelm. & A. Gray
Snow on the prairie, Snow-on-the-prairie
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
USDA Symbol: EUBI2
This plant grows 1–4 feet tall. Its slender upper leaves, 2–4 inches long, are green, edged with a narrow band of white. The lower leaves are alternate, grow close to the stem, and lack the white edging. They are 1–1 1/4 inches long. The numerous, inconspicuous flowers grow in terminal clusters. They are white, have no petals, and are either staminate (1 stamen) or pistillate (1 pistil). Clusters group together to form larger clusters surrounded by numerous leaflike bracts which are conspicuously white-margined, 1 1/8–2 1/8 inches long and about 1/4 inch wide. When the stem is broken it exudes a white, milky sap that is irritating to the skin of some persons.
Euphorbia bicolor is often confused with a similar species, E. marginata, which has shorter, wider bracts.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Size Notes: 1–4 feet tall.
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Description: Hard clay soils of prairies, rangelands, and edges of woods.
Conditions Comments: Although E. bicolor is not commercially available, it would be an excellent plant for large areas with poor soils. It adapts readily to both dry and wet climes. In the wild, E. bicolor can form extensive colonies over many acres, often seeming to blanket the fields with snow hence the origin of its name.
BenefitWarning: E. bicolor is a member of the Spurge Family which has as one of its characteristics the presence of milky white sap in the stems. The sap contains a toxic chemical euphorbium which can cause inflammation or irritation to the eyes and skin of some people. Many common ornamentals such as the poinsettia are members of this family.
Interesting Foliage: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
BibliographyBibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Euphorbia bicolor in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Euphorbia bicolor in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Euphorbia bicolor
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-05-28
Research By: TWC Staff