Saturday, 25 May 2013

Snow Flake Bush

Over the last week or two winter has well and truly arrived in Brisbane (even though we are still officially in Autumn) and one of the best things about winter in the tropics is that we have the most glorious of days with minimal rainfall and warming sunshine. Although a lot of trees may lose their leaves during this time, one bush that makes an appearance with a spectacular display - if only for a short time - is the Snow Flake Bush.  They are in full bloom everywhere in our neighbourhood at the moment and so I thought I would feature this flowering bush whilst currently at its most beautiful.  

Originating from Central America, the Euphorbia leucocephala bush is grown in many countries and as such has been given many common names, a couple being 'Snows of Kilimanjaro' and 'Pasquita', but here in Australia we are familiar with the name of 'Snow Flake'.  Closely related to the Poinsettia flower, this bush is a low maintenance shrub growing 1.5 to 2 metres in height and 2 to 3 metres in width in full sun to semi-shade and will suit an average garden, however, it doesn't tolerate frost.  Its best climate is in areas north of Sydney and Perth and mostly dominates the coastal perimeter.

The pretty creamy/white, petal-like bracts are dense blooming and cover the entire plant in fragrant flowers which attract butterflies and flower only during Autumn and Winter (April to July) when the days are shorter and there is the least amount of daily sun.  After flowering, the bush loses its leaves for a short while before again greening up from Spring onwards for the remainder of the year.  The stems contain a milky sap which could irritate some sensitive skins therefore it's advisable to wear protective gloves when pruning or taking cuttings.

All of these above photos were taken in my local street and considering we live in a tropical climate of extreme heat, cyclones and severe electrical storms and don't really experience bitterly cold winters, I find it wonderful to dream of being surrounded by 'snow flakes' even if it is a bush and only for such a short time.


"Failing to try is far worse than trying and failing" - Bryce Courtenay

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