Frost Flowers

I received this incredible email and wanted to share it.

Hello Ann,

My name is Linda McGill and I live in Pigeon Forge TN.  I just came across your website today and thought your children might like to see some Frost Flowers.  They don’t develope in all areas, but can be found here in East TN if the weather is just right.  I take lots of pictures of nature since I live out in the country and have found that very few people have ever noticed these little beauties.  But then again, they last for such a short time.

For just a little information on them, Frost flower formations are also known by the names of “ice flowers”, “ice blossoms”, “frost castles”, “frost beard”, “ice castles”, “ice ribbons”, or “crystallofolia”.

Frost flowers often form overnight during the late fall and early winter when the air temperature is below freezing and the ground temperature is above freezing.

The sap in the long stems of plants such as the white crownbeard and the yellow ironweed is pulled up through the stem from the damp soil below.  The water/sap freezes inside the stem, causing long, thin cracks to appear.  Since water expands when frozen, the moisture escapes through the tiny cracks and then quickly freezes when it comes in contact with the frigid air.  As more water/sap is drawn through the cracks, it pushes the thin ice layers further from the stem, causing a thin “petal” to form.

Hope you enjoy the pictures,
Linda


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5 Responses to Frost Flowers

  1. These are beautiful! Never heard of them before – how fun! Thanks, Frog Tree Farm!

  2. Oooooops, I meant “Barking Frog Farm”!

  3. kellytonks says:

    so cool and thank you Linda!!

  4. cynthia powers says:

    very pretty. do we know if the plants that produce these are found in the northeast??

    • BarkingFrogFarm says:

      The conditions Linda mentions are possible in the Northeast. We’ll have to keep an eye out next fall and early winter.

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