Frost Flowers

This is the perfect time of year for the formation of Frost (or Ice) Flowers. The conditions for the formation of Frost Flowers are pretty simple: a unfrozen wet ground + below freezing temperatures at the surface. They form just above the ground surface around stems of plants, shrubs and even small trees. They are formed as sap and water in the stem of the plants expands (water expands when frozen), causing long, thin cracks to form along the length of the stem. Water is then drawn through these cracks via capillary action and freezes upon contact with the air. As more water is drawn through the cracks it pushes the thin ice layers further from the stem, causing a thin “petal” to form. In the case of woody plants and tree branches the freezing water is squeezed through the pores of the plant forming long thin strings of ice that look like hair or plastic. Frost Flowers are extremely delicate and the slightest touch destroys them. They are also know as: “ice flowers”, “frost castles”, “frost beard”, “ice castles”, “ice ribbons”, or “ice blossoms”. Frost Flowers can be found anywhere but the best places to see them are in river/stream valleys and in extremely shaded areas.


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