Friday, August 2, 2013

Frost Flowers

Frost flowers, also known as ice ribbons, are common in the arctic region of the ocean, but extremely rare when they occur on land by a plant. Only several species of plants can produce these extremely beautiful, yet sadly temporary spectacles.

They are produced when the water in the soil is not frozen but the air temperature is. As water in the soil is drawn up through a plant’s stem, the water freezes and expands, breaking the stem walls and creating a flow of ice. As crack after crack yields another layer of ice, the total effect resembles the many layers of a flower petal. Each layer of ice is so thin, the frost flower is almost weightless and will shatter if touched.


Dani Harper, Author said...

THANK YOU so much for solving this mystery for me and my daughter. We were hiking in the Pacific coast rainforest of British Columbia one morning, and came upon a bunch of these. We didn't know what they were!

Linda Mooney said...

You're welcome! Aren't they beautiful?