The Snowflake bush, from Central America is a common garden ornamental.
They are shrubs or small trees from 1 to 5 m high and 3 m wide with a rounded top.
They are densely branched with the young angled stems being green and older ones brown and woody.
The round stems have no hairs but there are some on the swollen nodes.
When damaged parts exude a milky latex.
The stem leaves are in whorls of 3 to 10 with long bare stems between the whorls.
The thin petioles are mostly up to 2.5 (4) cm long with gland-like stipules around 0.5 mm long.
The blades are basically ovate to elliptic but can be slightly lanceolate or oblong.
They are 2 to 8 cm long by 2 to 3.5 cm wide.
The base is wedge-shaped or rounded and the tip rounded with a small point (mucro).
The white hairs on the stems, petioles and lower blade surface lie flat against the surface.
The blade is green with the midrib and pinnate veins being paler.
Some or all of the leaves may fall when flowering is finished.
The leaves on the distal branched stems are opposite or occasionally in whorls.
They are smaller than the stem leaves, ovate to elliptic and green with a white border that gets
wider the more distal the leaf is.
Inflorescences are terminal and axillary near the ends of the stems.
Each inflorescence is up to 10 cm long and typically splits into 3 branches at each of the divisions.
At the base of the inflorescence are green stem leaves and at each division there are smaller leaf-like bracts.
The obovate bracts, on petioles are up to 1 cm long and are typically all white.
Each inflorescence branch ends in a single bell-shaped cyathium on a 1 or 2 mm long peduncle.
The white or cream oblanceolate or obovate bracts below it are up to 10 mm long and 2 mm wide.
The bell-shaped involucre is 3 or 4 mm long and 2 mm wide.
On its rim are 4 or 5 kidney-shaped glands with 1.5 mm long lobes in between.
The triangular white petal-like gland appendages are up to 3 mm long.
Each cyathium has the usual numerous male flowers each with a stamen and hairy bracteoles around a single
female flower with an ovary and 3 bifid styles.
The fruit are 3-lobed capsules about 6 mm long with greyish seeds.
‘Pink Finale’ is a cultivar with pink bracts.