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Euphorbia bicolor (Snow on the prairie)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Euphorbia bicolor

Euphorbia bicolor Engelm. & A. Gray

Snow On The Prairie, Snow-on-the-prairie

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)


USDA Symbol: eubi2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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

40 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AR , LA , OK , TX

Growing Conditions

Light 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.


Warning: Euphorbia 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.

Honey produced by bees that have collected nectar and pollen from this species can irritate or burn the throats of consumers of it. Beekeepers call it "jalapeņo honey". (Reslit: 3174).
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX


Bibref 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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Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Research Literature

Reslit 3174 - THE BUDS AND THE BEES Flowers That Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth (2015) Bender, Becky

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Euphorbia bicolor in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Euphorbia bicolor in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Euphorbia bicolor


Record Modified: 2023-04-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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