It must be August when you see Snow- on-the-Prairie! Driving along Refuge Road, en route to Hagerman NWR, this plant with cool appearing green and white leaves actually does look like a light dusting of snow where it is growing en masse. There are actually two plants, Euphorbia bicolor Engelm. & Gray, and Snow-on- the-Mountain, Euphorbia marginata Pursh; NPIN, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database, says that the two are often confused.
Both plants are annuals in the spurge family. The actual flowers are tiny white blossoms, surrounded by the green and white bracts. The bract of bicolor (in photos) is narrower than that of marginata. According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Snow-on-the-Mountain grows mainly in Central Texas, as well as north to Montana and Minnesota and south to Mexico, and Snow-on-the-Prairie mainly in the eastern third of Texas. NPIN shows a range including Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. The bloom time is July – October. We'll take anything that even helps us think "cool" at this time of year!
Post and photos by Dick and Sue Malnory