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Kentucky Color: Rare sight. Patch of frost flowers

Nature observer has seen the rare sight only a few times before spotting this spectacular show of nature, in miniature, on the Chowning Farm near Amandaville, KY, on Crocus Creek off KY 704 in Cumberland CO., KY
Click on headline for full story plus 3 photos. The next earlier Kentucky Color is Gilled mushrooms, Harvey's Ridge, KY For Colleen Bardin's album of additional Frost Flower photos, Click here

By Billy Joe Fudge, President
Homeplace on Green River, 6035 New Columbia RD, Campbellsville, KY

I was blessed this morning, Wednesday, December 16, 2009, to find a large patch of Frost Flowers down on Crocus Creek on the Chowning Farm, Hopewell Acres, near Amandaville in Cumberland Co., KY.


After spending most of my life out of doors I have seen them only 3 or 4 times.They are very fragile, as you might imagine, and of course as soon as the temperture rises to 32 they are gone.

Frost flowers are formed when water inside a Frostweed - sometimes called Tick Weed or White Crownbeard - stem freezes and splits the stem open. When water vapor inside the stem is emitted directly into the air, it is transformed into a ribbon or thin sheet of ice.

Spot tickweed patches in summer and mark locations. Ironweed, a very common wildflower, is also a producer of Frost Flowers. An update to; Kentucky Color: Rare sight. Patch of frost flowers by Billy Joe Fudge, now with new photos added.

Update December 22, 2009: Here is a link to a picture of Tickweed. If you see these growing in late summer or early fall then check back in early, below freezing mornings especially after a soaking rain or an extended time of foggy wet weather to see if Frost Flowers have developed:
By Billy Joe Fudge, President
Homeplace on Green River, 6035 New Columbia RD, Campbellsville, KY

Summer photos of tickweed at "2bnthewild.com"
The largest Frost Flower patch I've ever seen was on a steep roadside in the Turkey Neck Bend area of Cumberland and Monroe Counties in late fall.

Frost flowers common on Ironweed stems

In researching the Frost Flower phenomenon, one will find that
Ironweed
, one of Adair County's most beautiful wldflowers, also has Frost Flowers. An example is Watersheds.org



This story was posted on 2009-12-17 07:00:01
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KY Color: Rare patch of frost flowers at Amandaville, KY



2009-12-17 - Hopewell Acres, KY 704, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Naturalist Billy Joe Fudge saw this patch of frost flowers at the Chowning Farm on KY 704, on Wednesday, December 16, 2009. It was only the fourth or fifth time he's seen them, he says.
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Kentucky Color: Classic Ribbon Frost Flower



2009-12-17 - Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
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Kentucky Color: Clam Shell Frost Flower near Crocus Creek



2009-12-17 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. "I call this a Clam Shell Frost Flower," writes Billy Joe Fudge. "As you can see, the weed has been broken off, causing the water vapor to spew up and out in a fairly uniform fashion." The natural phenomenon was photographed on Wednesday, December 16, 2009, on Hopewell Acres, the Chattin and Libby Chowning farm now owned by their sons, Joe Chat and John Chowning.
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A nest of Frost Flowers



2009-12-18 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Billy Joe Fudge has shared a few more of the beautiful frost flower photos he made on Wednesday, December 16, 2009,
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Frostflower on its own level



2009-12-19 - Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo By Billy Joe Fudge. Billy Joe Fudge was blessed Wednesday morning, December 16, 2009, to find a large patch of frost flowers on the Chowning Farm at Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY. He writes, "The folds and structure of this one really grabbed my attention. I would love to be present to see these things being created." The structures are so delicate that the slightest touch begins an immediate meltdown, he says.
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Frost Flower with a kite tail



2009-12-20 - Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. "Frost flowers are very delicate," Billy Joe Fudge writes of this beautiful variation. "It's amazing how fragile they are. This is quite evident in the tail on the bloom above, in the lower part of the photo, and the twisty swirl on the other end." This photo is one of many in the album. Click "Readmore" with this photo to see the others and learn more about the discovery.
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Frost flowers were more often called frost bunnies, once



2009-12-21 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Billy Joe Fudge remembers that, as a child, frost flowers were referred as "frost bunnies." This photo he took on Wednesday, December 16, 2009, at the Chowning Farm on KY 704 in Cumberland County illustrates why. It could easily be mistaken for a small white, Angora pet bunny. It was not until Fudge did some research, last week, that he came to realize that the phenomenon is more frequently referred to as "frost flowers."
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Frost Flowers: Another ribbon specimen



2009-12-22 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY . This is another "ribbon" flost flower photographed December 16, 2009, at the Chowning Farm in Cumberland Co., KY.
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Frost Flower: Close up of exploded tickweed stem



2009-12-22 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY . "This photo gives some idea about how the stem explodes under pressure and then spews forth water and water vapor to form the Frost Flowers," Billy Joe Fudge writes. Photo by Billy Joe Fudge
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Frost Flowers: Slightest touch causes break



2009-12-22 - Chowning Farm, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY . "I just barely touched this one and as you can see a side fell off because they are so fragile," Billy Joe Fudge writes. Photo by Billy Joe Fudge
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