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?