# What is the difference between white phosphorus and red phosphorus?

White phosphorus consists of discrete ${P}_{4}$ molecules. Moreover, the ${P}_{4}$ molecule is tetrahedral. This results in low melting point, and low boiling point, and high reactivity, as the bond angles, necessarily $60$ ""^@, are highly constrained in the tetrahedron. You can actually steam distill white (and yellow) phosphorus, and get a greasy distillate of white phosphorus that is fiercely reactive, and must be stored under water.