I like posting about artists and the unique way in which they see the world or the unique ways they use everyday things to create something of wonder. However, when conditions are exactly right, nature can bestow upon us beautiful things in unexpected places. Like frost flowers. Ethereal and tantalizingly short lived, when you see them, they capture your attention and wonder.
Water is drawn up by the plant via capillary action and begins to seep out of cracks in the plant stem. This water freezes on contact with the air. As the plant continues to draw water, it pushes the ice layer further and further from the plant stem and it also freezes on contact with the air. This causes a delicate formation of ice that resembles petals in the case of small plants and hair-like ice formations in the case of woody plants or tree branches.
What results is kind of magical.
|Reminds me of Christmas ribbon candy or lasagna noodles, only prettier|
Ice flowers melt very quickly in the sun and are probably gone by the time most people are up and about.
It doesn't just happen with plants and branches as you can see from the photo above. This is Crestedcrazy's gate.
Frost flowers, or frost castles, ice castles, ice blossoms, or crystallofolia, form when the ground has not yet frozen but the air is at freezing temperatures. Late fall or early winter are the best times to find them. Maybe if you happen to be outside in those conditions, check around for some frost flowers.
More pictures here