Scientific Name: Breynia disticha
Synonyms: Breynia nivosa, Phyllanthus nivosus
Common Names: Snowbush, Snow Bush, Foliage Flower
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Shrub
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant is native to New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Flower Color: Inconspicuous (greenish)
Height: To 8 feet (2.4 m) tall
Description: The plants are monoecious with both male and female flowers on the same plant. The small, greenish, petal-less flowers emerge from the leaf axils and are inconspicuous below the colorful, flower petal-like leaves. The leaves are hairless, elliptic to egg-shaped, smooth-edged, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and variegated with green, pink, pinkish red, and white. The leaves near the stem tips are the most brightly colored, while those near the center of the plant are mostly green. The branchlets are reddish and zigzagged. The plants spread aggressively and profusely by root suckers.
Because of its beautiful foliage, Snowbush is commonly cultivated as a colorful hedge plant here in Hawaii, and due to its aggressive suckering habits, it now grows wild in areas near where it was formerly planted.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family
Genus: Breynia J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. – breynia
Species: Breynia disticha J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. – snowbush