Euphorbia marginata (Snow-on-the-mountain)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry prairies, fields. roadsides, railroads|
|Bloom season:||June - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flat clusters at the tips of branching stems in the upper plant. Flower structures are about 3/8 inch across with mostly 5 white (sometimes 3 or 4), petal-like appendages, each having a green, oblong to kidney-shaped gland at the base. In the center are numerous, tiny male flowers with yellow-green stamens, surrounding a single green female flower with an arcing, divided style.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are up to 3½ inches long and to 1½ inches wide, toothless, hairless or sparsely hairy, oblong to elliptical, pointed at the tip, rounded at the base, and stalkless. Attachment is alternate except in the flowering branches, where they may be opposite or whorled.
Stems are unbranched except in the flower clusters, light green, hairless or nearly so in the lower plant, often with long, spreading hairs in the upper plant. Stems contain a milky sap that can be very irritating to skin.
Seeds are 3.7 to 3.9 mm long, oval to egg-shaped to nearly round, with a conspicuous brown ridge down one side. Color is variable, from nearly white to gray to orange-tan. The surface texture is a fine network, with or without scattered ridges that give a bumpy texture.
Snow-on-the-mountain is primarily a Great Plains species, considered introduced east of Minnesota and west of the Rocky Mountains, where its known to escape cultivation and become weedy. It is easy to identify with the white-edged leafy bracts around the flower clusters.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Snow-on-the-mountain plant
- a roadside population
- a denser colony
- Painted Leaf with Snow-on-the-Mountain
- garden-grown Snow-on-the-Mountain
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Renville County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?