Snow on the Prairie

I always feel like Fall is here when the ‘Snow on the Prairie’ starts to bloom.
Be sure to click on the photo for a better look.

Euphorbia bicolor
© 2009 Martha Mullens (Nikon S51)

We were driving back from lunch when Martha spotted these prairie flowers growing among some Mesquite trees in an undisturbed field. I really liked the lighting on the above photo. It was in the shade but highlighted by shafts of sunlight.

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.

Kingdom:  Plantae  – Plants
Subkingdom:  Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision:  Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class:  Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass:  Rosidae
Order:  Euphorbiales
Family:  Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family
Genus:  Euphorbia L. – spurge
Species: Euphorbia bicolor Engelm. & A. Gray – Snow on the Prairie

Distribution for ‘Snow on the Prairie’

Photographed just north of Ft. Worth, Texas (Tarrant County).

E. bicolor is often confused with a similar species, E. marginata (Snow on the Mountain) which has shorter, wider bracts.

Distribution for ‘Snow on the Mountain’

Leave a comment.
Do you have this flower, or its close relative, Snow on the Mountain?
Have you seen either or both?

Range Maps:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database . National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Troy & Martha



About Troy

Retired Scientist and Naturalist. Avid Bible reader
This entry was posted in Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, USDA Plant Database, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Snow on the Prairie

  1. very beautiful work here also my friend

  2. Bob says:

    Excellent shot, I notice we don’t have any in Saskatchewan by your map, we don’t have that many wild prairie flowers at all.

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