We’ve all seen frost- that’s crystals of ice that form often on a cold, calm, clear night, even if the air temperature is above freezing. Water vapor changes directly to ice to make frost on cars, on windows and on other objects. Along with frost, some of us have seen strange clumps of ice that may look like flowers. The nickname for that is ice flowers, or frost flowers, or ice blossoms. They actually are not formed by frost.
Ice flowers are formed when plant stems pull moisture out of the ground. As the water oozes out of the stem, it freezes. More water follows the same path and continues to freeze and extend the length and width of the ice. It’s really ice, not frost.
Bonnie Harper captured these pictures in Mount Vernon, Alabama, after a couple of cold autumn mornings.
See more pictures of ice flowers here from the National Weather Service.