Beautiful white blooms are blanketing the hills and pastures across Texas. These sightings indicate the arrival of the appropriately named Snow on the Prairie and Snow on the Mountain, two late-season annual Texas wildflowers.
Snow on the Prairie and Snow on the Mountain appear very similar, tending to bloom in late July through October. Snow on the Prairie is more common in the eastern region of Texas, preferring clay soil. At the same time, Snow on the Mountain is plentiful in the western part of the state. These hardy plants grow up to 4ft tall in full to partial sun in areas lacking competition from other vegetation. Some confuse these plants with common milkweed or antelope horn milkweed due to the white, milky substance secreted from the stalk. However, use caution! This milky substance can cause skin rashes and makes an “excellent natural mace or pepper spray,” as discovered by Jim Figg, the owner of J&N Feed and Seed of Graham, Texas. He was blinded for nearly two days after an ill encounter with this flora. Contrarily, mourning dove are known to eat the seeds, while butterflies and bees relish the flowers’ nectar.
The arrival of Snow on the Prairie and Snow on the Mountain also signal to local beekeepers that it is time to pull their honey crop without haste. When honeybees harvest pollen from these plants, it adds a peppery flavor to the honey. Most folks find this honey foul tasting and irritating to the throat. Beekeepers often refer to it as “jalapeno honey”.