Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pink-tinged snow

with 9 comments

On September 25 I drove approximately that many miles north to Tejas Camp in Williamson County. I went there not only to check out the river primroses but also to search for some good snow-on-the-mountain plants (Euphorbia marginata) to balance the snow-on-the-prairie I’d already documented for this year. I succeeded in both quests. While snow-on-the-mountain is poetically named for its prominently white-margined bracts, they occasionally show a pink tinge, as parts of the plants in both of today’s photographs confirm. I noticed that in some of the inflorescences the little elliptical structures called nectar glands that start out a pale olive green had turned tan or even conspicuously red. And it’s time for a reminder that the plant’s actual flowers are restricted to the small rough areas that those nectar glands surround.

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© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 3, 2021 at 4:35 AM

9 Responses

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  1. How interesting. I’ve never noticed the glands on E. bicolor turning red; is that change limited to snow-on-the-mountain? I suppose timing is everything, and I could have missed noticing the change with E. marginata since I see it so rarely. I have noticed red stems, which I’ve assumed to be associated with age or temperature. On the other hand, those pink-tinged bracts and the reddish glands might be related.

    The other thing I noticed is the fuzziness of the fruits in these photos. All that I’ve seen on E. bicolor are smooth. I dug out some of my early hill country photos of snow-on-the-mountain and they do show fuzzy fruits, but that fuzziness had nothing to do with the plants and everything to do with my photographic skills!


    October 3, 2021 at 6:38 AM

    • Unable to answer your question, I posted to Facebook’s Texas Flora group just now and asked if anyone knows more about the nectar glands turning red in either species, something I don’t recall seeing before. If anyone provides more information, I’ll update this post. The red stems, in contrast, are common in both species. and have provided me with many pictures over the years.

      As for fuzzy fruit, I’ve seen it in both of these species:

      Why I’d gone back to the prairie

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2021 at 7:29 AM

  2. I am always surprised at how many white flowers either have a bit of pink to them or develop it as they age.

    Steve Gingold

    October 3, 2021 at 12:46 PM

  3. An unusual looking plant. Nicely shot, Steve.

    Jane Lurie

    October 3, 2021 at 6:43 PM

    • This is a common species here, so perhaps, as the adage holds, “familiarity breeds contempt”—by which I mean that people here may consider snow-on-the-mountain a weed and not pay attention to the plant’s intricacy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2021 at 9:24 PM

  4. Pink-tinged anything is fun to see!


    October 3, 2021 at 8:04 PM

    • It seems that pink is a favorite hue of yours. Let’s hope that preference keeps you in the pink.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2021 at 9:25 PM

  5. […] already seen Euphorbia bicolor, Euphorbia marginata, and Euphorbia cyathophora here this season. Now comes Euphorbia corollata, which doesn’t […]

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