The Frost Flower, the extraordinary phenomenon when water freezes within a plant, and extrudes from it, literally blossoming from it into a complex ice flower. They can form into solid sculpture-like flowers like the top photo or form whimsical, cotton candy-like formations (bottom). However, on open oceans in the Arctic and North Pole region, when the air is extremely cold and dry, but colder than the water, in a complex iteration, the water moves from the ocean, into the dry air, and then descends again as ice, gradually forming frost flower arrangements, and the ocean blossoms in fields of frost flowers.
Other names for the frost flower are frost faces, ice castles, ice blossoms or crystallofolia.
Frost flowers are usually very delicate and will break when touched and will also melt, fairy tale-like, with contact with the sun and so are usually visible in the early morning or in shaded areas. However, some frost flower extrusions, like ice that cracks rock, are so powerful that they will rip the bark off of trees as they blossom!
Examples of plants that often form frost flowers are white crownbeard, commonly called frostweed, and yellow ironweed. They have also been observed growing from fallen branches of conifers.
The photo of the frosted rose is included merely because it is beautiful and shows another type of way frost can combine with flowers.
For vast, dazzling additional frost flower photos:
I was introduced to the existence of frost flowers by Mrs. Iris Bell, making this her third issue she was the source of the subject for (see Issues 6 and 7). Thank you so much, Iris!
The Beautiful Project is 4 years old as of yesterday. Many more beautiful issues to come!!!
Photo Credit for the above photos is, sequentially: the iconic first one, “The Frost Flower Of The Ozarks” (I call it), taken in the Ozark Mountains by: Marvin Smith, via Flickr; the following 2 of the Arctic and North Pole are by Matthias Wietz; The Ship In The Field Of Frost Flowers is by the SHEBA project of the University of Washington, the frosted rose is credited to the online business fwallpapers user ‘dan’ and the final gossamer-whimsical one is by Flickr user ‘markinspecx’.