At first glance, this may appear to be nothing but a white blob on the ground, but when you look closer, it’s a delicate weaving of ice crystals. It’s so fragile one touch will crumple it to the ground, and the first rays of morning sun quickly dissolve it away. It’s an ice sculpture formed by the hand of nature.
Frost flowers occur only on the first cold morning of winter, when the ground has not yet frozen, but the air temperature is below freezing. The plants’ root systems are still active drawing up moisture from the ground through their roots. When the moisture reaches the plant’s stem above ground, it freezes and expands. As is expands, it escapes out of cracks in the stem (much like toothpaste from a tube) forming sheets or strands of ice.
It’s a short lived show though, and melts away with the morning sun. Both Harland and I had heard of them before and seen pictures, but never thought we would see one. Over Christmas, we took a vacation to warmer parts of the country. Our first night was spent in a cabin Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas and early the next morning, we went for a walk on a wooded trail near a stream. As we rounded a corner, I saw what I first thought was a small pile of white fluff. As we neared it though, I held my breath, pointed at it and gasped,
“It’s one of those ice flower things!”
Harland looked and exclaimed, “Holy crap, it is!”
Then we hit the ground onto our bellies and proceeded to photograph it like it was an alien from outer space.
Luckily there wasn’t anyone else around. To the unsuspecting onlooker we would have appeared as this normal looking couple walking the trail, yelling and hitting the deck like they’d been fired upon.
We finally got back to our feet, and walked on only to find another, and another, and ultimately dozens of them. We hit the deck before several of them, photographing them from different angles.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we didn’t care what we looked like. But it was all worth it.
Have you ever seen frost flowers before?
———> UP NEXT: Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas: A lovely old cabin, a flowing stream and waterfall in the woods.
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How fascinating! I have never seen (or heard) of frost flowers. Isn’t nature amazing?
I think I am too far south, because we rarely even get snow, but I would love to see those one day. You two did the right thing!
that is so cool! I’ve never seen or heard of these. It is too late in the season for me to look for them where I live but hopefully I can remember to be on the lookout for them next year. Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures!
Aren’t they beautiful? I live in Texas and we’ve seen Frost Flowers several times. Stunning photographs, btw.
I have never seen or heard of these. All I can say is God is awesome. Great pictures, thanks for sharing.
What awesome pictures! I’ve never heard (or seen!) of frost flowers, but next year, will be on the prowl for them… Thanks for sharing!
This. is. awesome! I have never heard of these before. Being from Texas, I’m not surprised. Thank you for sharing!
OMG that is so beautiful!
I’ve seen ice flowers. I thought it was frozen cheese cloth – hahah
thanks for taking the pix and sharing.
I meant to say – I’ve NEVER seen ice flowers. I need more chocolate to get the brain and fingers in sync…
Chocolate is the 5th food group you know. Good for all that ails a person. 🙂
Absolutely amazing! So beautiful! I have never seen nor heard of these before! Thanks for sharing!
I just love your blog. I love the way you add education information along with the photos you take. Keep up the good work. I check in often.
Aww…Thank you Lynn. And thank you for your visits!
What fabulous shots!! I’m not familiar with frost flowers, but they are gorgeous. We do get below freezing temps down here, but I’m not usually out in them to find such jewels!!!!
WOW! Thank you so much! That is so cool!
They look beautiful! It is like shaved ice 😀
I’ve never seen those, now I’ll be looking everywhere… They’re wonderful! I didn’t know they existed.
Beautiful! I’ve never heard of them before either — thanks for sharing with us!
beautiful! I’ve never heard of them either. Thanks for the info and lovely photos.
I’ve photographed snowflakes, but have never seen the beauty of frost flowers. Hope to some-
You are providing us with a world of info and beautiful photos. Thank you, Suzanne, I appreciate it. Never heard of or saw these before.
This is amazing! I have never seen (or even heard of) anything like this. I had to share this with my husband and he was blown away also. Thanks for sharing this.
Beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like this. Thanks for sharing.
Never heard of frost flowers! Thanks for another new thing to learn, and great pics and commentary.
I have spent a lot time in the outdoors in all kinds of weather and have never seen or heard of a frost flower. They are beautiful.
absolutely amazing photos!
Stunning photographs! I’d never heard of those.
These are amazing! I have never heard of or seen these before, but now I want to find one. Ok, maybe next year. Beautiful!
No, I’ve never seen them and this is the first time I’ve heard of them – thank you! How absolutely beautiful. Thank you Suzanne!
Suzanne, If I didn’t know you as a blog friend…I would have never believed you! What!?!?! This is crazy! amazing! beautiful! I am completely amazed! I have never seen or heard of anything like that. I am totally intrigued! I can’t believe that they are that delicate! I wonder if I will ever see something like that. You are so lucky! Great photos!
Oh my goodness! I have never ever seen anything like that! Wow! That is so cool. Once again beautiful photos.
Suzanne, Wonderful pics and information ! Now I will be scouring the countryside in winter looking for these little buggers. Never even heard of them before. Have been to Devil’s Den in summer. Some pretty neat caves to explore if you ever go back. Your photography is amazing ! Thanks for shooting and writing, then sharing with us ! Jim
Thanks for your post. A friend found it for me after I posted some pictures from today (1-1-14) taken outside of Knoxville, TN. I was amazed and had no idea what to call them.