THE SNOW POPPY is an attractive low-growing evergreen perennial, native to eastern China. It produces fleshy, 30-60cm high stems topped with heart to kidney-shaped, leathery leaves. The stems secrete orange sap when crushed. Tall stems of pure white, four-petalled flowers with a central cluster of bright golden stamens appear in spring and summer. It is widely planted in gardens in warm-totemperate parts of the country as a groundcover under trees and in shaded areas.
This is a recent garden escapee that thrives in shaded sites with well-drained soil, where it forms a dense network of difficult-to-control underground rhizomes. Plant fragments of both stems and roots spread through garden dumping. These take root easily in native bush areas where they smother small native plants under a dense canopy of foliage and inhibit germination of seedlings.