Snow in Summer

by | Aug 30, 2015 | 0 comments

Recently while at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, I noticed these flowers on the Snow Bush or Breynia distichia (BRAY-nee-ah DISS-tih-kah). I was amazed! I had never seen the flowers.

Flowers on a snow bush or Breynai distichia

Flowers on a snow bush or Breynai distichia

The flowers are underneath the branches pointed toward the ground and they are only about 1/4″ wide. I don’t even remember how I noticed them. I must have been bending over looking at another plant. They are very inconspicuous and as they are green, they blend in. Besides, the beautiful variegated green, white, and pink foliage keeps your attention. The flowers are monoecious, meaning the male and female flowers are on the same plant.

This plant is from the Pacific Islands of New Cledonia and Vanuata. It is in the Euphorbia family. In its native habitat it can become an 8 foot shrub, but it has been hybridized to be smaller for the home environment, topping out at about 3 feet. Because it doesn’t like full sun, it does well in the house. In its native habitat, it is used as a hedge. It prefers to be moist. Never let it dry out, or it will drop leaves.

Belle isle today 126I bought the one below at Jonker’s nursery in Holland, MI and it is the cultivar ‘Roseo-picta’. It has a lot of pink variegation, thus the ‘roseo’ name. The original has a small bit of pink on the new growth, but  ‘Roseo-picta’ has much more. This 4″ pot was in the fairy garden section. It would make a great tree in an indoor fairy garden, as it isn’t hardy here in Michigan. It is hardy in Zones 9b-11 here in the U. S.

4" Breynia distichia 'Roseo-picta'

4″ Breynia


10 gallon Breynia

10 gallon Breynia








GWA regional meeting 104

Breynia distichia ‘Roseo-picta’

The pictures above were taken in June. I was at the conservatory on the 11th of August and the pictures below were taken then. I think it is mostly white now because it was trimmed back in mid summer and the white foliage is the new growth. Usually the new growth has the most color because it gets the most light. The foliage on the inside is green because it gets shaded from the outer foliage.

I’m hoping mine has enough light to bloom. Even though the blooms are small, I think they are beautiful!

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