Species Specifics: Snow-on-the-mountain

Something went wrong. Please try again later...
picture of Snow on the mountain

Snow-on-the-mountain is common across much of the United States. Although unpalatable to grazing cattle, it can pose a threat during drought.


  • Snow-on-the-mountain is part of the spurge family and contains a sap that is toxic to livestock and humans.
  • This weed has been associated with health complications and stress in livestock, leading to decreased weight gain and profitability.
  • Since cattle will not graze it unless they’re desperate, its best to be controlled with DuraCor® herbicide.



Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) is an annual plant in the spurge family. It reaches heights of 2 to 4 feet and has oblong, light green and white leaves. Its “flowers” are several white bracts (leaflike structures) clustered at the top.



Snow-on-the-mountain is native to much of the United States and was regarded as an ornamental plant, but its growth habits caused it to spread to areas where it’s unwanted. It tolerates most soil types but prefers shaded areas — it’s commonly found near fence lines and trees. It spreads by underground rhizomes. Mechanical control is not recommended because broken-off pieces of rhizomes can quickly form new plants and expand infestations.



Cattle typically will not graze snow-on-the-mountain because of its bitter taste but will if desirable forage is scarce, such as during drought. If the land is hayed, livestock are not able to be as selective. You should prioritize removing this weed in pastures before grazing and in hayfields before harvesting because its milky sap causes skin, mouth and digestive tract irritation if consumed.

“While cattle rarely die from consuming snow-on-the-mountain, the health complications and stress associated with it reduce weight gain, performance and profitability,” says Jeff Clark, market development specialist at Corteva Agriscience.

To control snow-on-the-mountain, apply 12 to 16 fluid ounces of DuraCor® herbicide with 1% v/v methylated seed oil. Treat when plants are 12 inches or taller. Do not apply after bloom.



Connect with Range & Pasture:



™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal field conditions, DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions. ® 2021 Corteva.

Range & Pasture Steward Newsletter

Learn about seasonal opportunities, rancher success stories, and management strategies for pastures and rangeland.

Explore Articles ⟶

Subscribe ⟶