With the official winter only a few days away, the weather is finally becoming a little cool. Only in the mornings though - the days are fine and sunny and by mid-morning even a light sweater quickly becomes too warm.
One of the delights of autumn is that the gardens in this area suddenly sport bushes that are covered in 'snow'. This plant growing beside my letter box is the delightful Snow Flake - Euphorbria leucocephala - not to be confused with the succulent plant from South Africa, also known as 'Snowflake', which is Euphorbia horrida.
Our Snow Flake is related to the better known poinsettia and originates in South America. It is happier growing in warmer climes and not at all frost hardy. Elsewhere it is known as Snows of Kilimanjaro, Little Christmas Flower, Pascuita, or Snow Bush.
Apart from being breathtakingly beautiful, its other feature is the poisonous white sap in the stems.
According to the Queensland Government's Poisons Information Centre, the plant's irritant sap can potentially cause skin blisters and rashes. And apparently if the sap or any part of the plant is ingested, symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea or a burning sensation in the mouth and throat.
As the pleasure of this plant is in its showiness from a distance, and the 'flowers' do not lend themselves to picking for the house, the risk of growing it is not great.
I like the Snow Flake because it is hardy and it self-seeds easily. And it brings the only kind of snow we are ever likely to see around here.