If you strolling in the woods or near a creek in cold morning, especially when the air is crisp and temperatures hover below freezing, you can see “Frostweed” grows to see nature’s odd ice sculptures the “Frost Flowers”. So fall is a wonderful time to find an amazing array of wildflowers on your national forests and grasslands. However several experienced nature explorers haven’t seen frost flowers. This is because you’ve to be in the right place at the right time. These’re really not flowers at all, just a spin glass or cotton candy fragile creations. The flowers last only until the sun or warm rays melt then away. Only very few lucky people able to see them and know about their existence, their formation and disappearance cover such a short period.
This is really interesting to know, that “Frost Flowers” forms when the ground temperature is warm enough for the plant’s root system to be active and the air temperature is cold enough to freeze the upward flowing plant juices. The freezing juices may split open a whole section of stem and push out in a side curling sheet, or it may emerge from small slits and form long, ribbon-like strands or flowerlike clusters. The moisture in the plant freezes, the ice crystals push out through the stem. At times more than a few ribbons of ice push out to make a flowerlike petal effect.
As long as the juices flow, air temperatures remain low and the plant is shaded from the sun, these ice crystals continue to form. The frostweed, Verbesinia virginica, commonly occurs in Texas, is one of species of plants, which are capable of producing icy creations. These waist to shoulder high plants grow in thick patches in the moist, shaded soil of river or creek bottoms and form heavy undergrowth’s in the shade of large trees. This plant also is recognized as Indian tobacco and “tickweed” because the dried leaves were once used by Indians as tobacco and people walking through the plants invariably gather a few seed ticks.
Frost flowers are delicate, attractive ribbons of ice crystals that form on the lower stems of a few species of Missouri native plants. When the backlit of sun shades on crystal threads of frozen plants, it looks like a golden glow. So it is recommended to take your camera. If you’re lucky enough, you may able to snap some photographs before the ice ribbons melt in the morning sunlight. If you want to relish the frost flowers in person this year, locate some of the “Frostweed” plants before cold weather arrives.