Snow on the Mountain is Euphorbia Marginata

Snow on the Mountain is a native plant in our area; it is also called Euphorbia marginata, Summer Icicle, Spurge and Smoke on the Prairie.  Its clusters of white-tipped, green leaves (actually bracts) sit on top of  24-inch tall stems, brightening wildflower beds.

Like its cousin, the Christmas Poinsettia, Snow on the Mountain bracts take center stage and the tiny green flowers in the center are barely noticed. The plant stems contain a sap that make them deer and rabbit resistant.  They like full-sun, although we have a few that get only afternoon sun. Any soil will do and they do not need fertilizer.

Plant the seeds with other fall-blooming cutting flowers such as Zinnias, Dahlias, Asters, Joe Pye Weed and Mums.

Handle the stems with care until you know if you are allergic to the sap. Snow on the Mountain often re-seeds to grow new plants the following spring but seeds are also widely available for purchase, including Johnny’s Seed ( and Prairie Moon Nursery (www.prairie

There is only one stem per plant but they are still valued for creating unique bouquets. Cut the stems before the flowers fully open and sear the end of the stem with boiling water.

Soak Euphorbia seeds before planting in the spring or plant them in the fall. It can take them a few months to emerge even when they are kept at the ideal 68-degrees. They need light to germinate so barely cover the seeds with vermiculite or sand to hold them in place. Thin the plants 8-inches apart.

There is also a native red bract Euphorbia cyathophora that is found less often in the wild. Its other names include Painted Poinsettia, Painted Leaf or Fire on the Mountain. It’s pretty but not as dramatic as Snow on the Mountain.

Euphorbias (all 2,000 of them) were named by Carl Linneaus for Euphorbos,  a Greek physician who studied and wrote about plants and their medicinal properties around 50 BC.


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