Gallery: Frost flowers, ice flowers

[nggallery id=frost_flowers]

EarthSky Facebook friend Mary Parnell Carney from Kentucky captured these images of frost flowers from her home in Kentucky. Wikipedia says frost flowers are sometimes called “ice flowers.” They form when the air is freezing, but the ground isn’t frozen yet. Apparently sap in the stem of some plants will expand as it freezes, causing long, thin cracks to form along the length of some plants’ stems. Capillary action then draws water up through these cracks. The water freezes in the freezing air. As more water is drawn through the cracks it pushes the thin ice layers further from the stem, causing a thin “petal” to form.

Who knew?

Mary, thanks for the pics! Isn’t nature incredible?

December 2, 2011

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