Thursday, November 13, 2014

Frost Flowers

Frost Flowers
Super cold temperatures have a arrived on southwest Missouri's tallgrass prairie and, with them, an annual event that our family greatly looks forward to each and every autumn. Experiencing the sight of the season's first swirly, twirly, and utterly beautiful frost flowers!

Frost flowers really aren't flowers at all, but are beautiful, delicate ribbons of ice that form on the lower stem of certain native Missouri plants.

Delicate Ribbons Of Ice
Frost flowers occur only in the late fall after the first few hard freezes of the season. Frost flowers are formed when the plants' stems are ruptured by the first hard freeze, yet the root system is still sending up plant sap from the warmer ground. The sap pushes through the broken stem and freezes on contact with the cold air. As more sap moves up the stem, it forces the freezing stream of white ice crystals into ornate and beautifully folded ribbons of frosted swirls.

Ornate And Beautifully Folded Ribbons Of Frosted Swirls
Missouri plants known to produce frost flowers include dittany, stinkweed, and white crownbeard.
A Swirly, Twirly An Utterly Beautiful Frost Flower
If you've not had the pleasure of experiencing your first frost flower, but would like to, it's not too late. I know it's cold, but get out early in the morning before the sun's rays melt the delicate formations away. If you need to know where to go to observe frost flowers locally e-mail me ( - please put FROST FLOWERS on the subject line) or message me on Facebook (Rebecca Brown Knox). I'll be more than happy to point you in the right direction. :)

Until next time,

White Crownbeard (Wingstem, Frostweed)


  1. I love learning new things. I had never heard of frost flowers before. I live in NJ. Thanks for the post on them.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Inchwormart! Am so glad you enjoyed learning about frost flowers. It won't be long and they'll be coming on again! :)

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