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Snow On the Mountain

Snow On the Mountain -or- Smoke On the Prairie -or- Variegated Spurge -or- Whitemargined Spurge (Euphorbia marginata), family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge)

Synonym(s): Agaloma marginata, Dichrophyllum marginatum, Lepadena marginata
HABIT:  Basically a pretty 3-6’ weed. Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct.
Grown as much for its foliage as for its flowers, snow-on-the-mountain’s small but showy leaves may be light green, variegated or entirely white. They clasp erect, many-branched stems that grow 1-3 ft. tall. Tiny flowers, each with whitish, petal-like bracts, are borne in clusters atop the stems. It has varying degrees of toxicity warnings and invasive weed classifications. The USDA Plant Database lists 96 species in this genus. WIKIPEDIA says there are closer to 2,160. They describe this genus as 'one of the most diverse genera in the plant kingdom, maybe exceeded only by Senecio'. The plants are native to the continental United States. Milky sap may cause dermatitis.
USES:  From the excellent website Native American Ethnobotany are the following uses of this species by Native American tribes: Lakota infusion of crushed leaves used as a liniment for swellings. Infusion of plant used by mothers without milk. Pawnee Plant is considered poisonous. Use Wildlife: This plant has no forage value for wildlife and is usually considered poisonous. Mourning doves eat the seeds without being harmed.
Warning:  Plant parts (fresh or dried) and extracts made from them can be toxic if ingested to both humans and cattle. Ingestion causes inflammation or blistering of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Contact with plant can cause irritation of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plant’s different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil. Spurges should be handled with caution. Latex coming in contact with the skin should be washed off immediately and thoroughly. Partially or completely congealed latex is often no longer soluble in water, but can be removed with an emulsion (milk, hand-cream). A physician should be consulted regarding any inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially the eyes, as severe eye damage including possible permanent blindness may result from acute exposure to the sap. It has been noticed, when cutting large succulent spurges in a greenhouse, that vapours from the latex spread and can cause severe irritation to the eyes and air passages. Precautions, including sufficient ventilation, are required. Small children and domestic pets should be kept from contact with spurges.


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