Monday, 19 January 2015

Sunday picture revealed: It was a frost flower

Posted by Rosie

Yesterday I posted this picture as my Silent Sunday/My Sunday Photo and sat back to see if anyone knew what it was. 

A Frost Flower

I am writing this blog at gone 7pm on Sunday and so far only one person has guessed and another was on the right lines before changing their mind. Emma at Bavarian Sojourn guessed it right and Phoebe from Lou Messugo was on the right tracks before she changed her mind!

Another one of your cryptic photos...I first thought it was ice and then realised it couldn't be as there isn't any on the top side of the branch so it must be a weird fungus. Very beautiful.


In fact it is ice in the form of something called a Frost Flower. A frost flower is the name given to the condition when thin layers of ice in the form of what looks like fine hair are extruded from usually dead branches.

Frost flowers will form when the air temperature is below zero degrees but the ground itself is not frozen.  The sap in the stem will expand as the temperature falls below freezing causing fine fissures to form along the branch.  Water is drawn out through these these fissures and as it meets the freezing air it freezes into these hairlike formations.  They melt quickly in the morning sun so are generally only seen early in the morning or in very shady spots.


I have seen them 3 times now and their beauty never ceases to amaze me.  The first time I saw them, like many of the people who commented on the post yesterday, I thought they were a fungus but as you hold them in your warm hand and they disappear almost at once leaving just the slightest dampness in their wake, their true nature is revealed.

I know I am very  lucky to have seen frost flowers.  Have you ever seen them?


16 comments :

  1. Oh wow! Thank you for the explanation....Nature is just so beautiful x

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  2. Fascinating, I've never seen one but then I'm rarely up and out before the sun! Thank you for the explanation and I will think of you if I do spot one now, dead branches in our deer field could well be hiding some on a frosty morning.

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  3. Beautiful, I will be looking out for these in the future.xx

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  4. I've never seen them and they really are very beautiful. Isn't nature amazing.

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  5. Amazing, I really did think ice but couldn't see how it could be possible. I've never heard of frost flowers and I don't suppose I'm likely to see any down in the south.

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    1. You might as the temperature needs to just be hovering around zero and I think at times you do drop that low don't you?

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  6. Wow, that's fascinating! I've never seen one before or even heard of them, so that's really interesting. It looks so soft and hairy, I didn't think it could possibly be ice!

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    1. Soft and hairy is exactly right. They feel like nothing in your hand and in a few short moments have meted away.

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  7. Wow, I would never have guessed this was a frost flower. We don't get cold enough for such things here. Just beautiful.

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  8. Wow that's fascinating! I would have never guessed - in fact I didn't even know they existed. They are so beautiful too.

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  9. I never would have guessed that. They are stunning. I hope I get to see one

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  10. Really amazing. Nature is so wonderful. I'd never heart of them before.

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  11. How fascinating, not something I have seen or heard of, beautiful

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  12. Wow, these are amazing! Never seen anything like it before, great capture Rosie.

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