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KY Color: How to spot Frost Flowers, review of what they are

This column is review of how Frost Flowers are formed, With hints on how, where to spot the ice formations. Click on headline for full Kentucky Color plus more photos
Next earlier Kentucky Color: A Special Place To Live, December 2, 2010

By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester
Kentucky Division of Forestry

I understand that there are still many CM readers who missed the initial find of Frost Flowers in 2009 and in response to your inquiries; Frost Flowers are not real flowers nor are they frost.

Frost Flowers are actually ice structures that are formed on the stem, usually the base, of weeds. Tick weed and Iron weed are at least two varieties of weeds that produce them.


For those of you who wish to strike out on a Frost Flower safari the weather conditions conducive to their formation are wet, saturated and unfrozen soil with air temperatures that are freezing. My experience is that I find more and better formed blooms when the temperature is below 25 degrees. The blooms photograph better in brilliant sunlight.

Of course it does go without saying that Frost Flowers are one of nature's own works of art. Each one is as unique and as individual as a snowflake. If no one photographs a Frost Flower then its beauty and grandeur are lost forever, never to be seen again; that is as soon as the temperature rises above 32.

Just remember that each photo of a Frost Flower is an individual work of art. Valuable in that there has never been one like it before and will never be another like it again.


This story was posted on 2010-12-04 13:36:55
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Frost Flower triangular tulip



2010-12-04 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Hopewell Acres, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY
Frost Flower Tulip: A loose and flowing, triangular tulip.

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Vertical Tufts of Ribbon and Lace Frost Flowers



2010-12-04 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Hopewell Acres, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY
Frost Flower Tufts of Ribbon and Lace

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Frost Flower with Swan shaped petals



2010-12-04 - Photo By Billy Joe Fudge. Hopewell Acres, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY
"Soft and delicate Swan shaped petals," writes Billy Joe Fudge By far the wettest Frost Flower photo to date and so close to melting that I almost missed it."

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Rings of Saturn Frost Flowers



2010-12-04 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Hopewell Acres, Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KY
A close-up of a Ribbon petal." The Saturn Ring, on Frost Flower petals seem to be formed by little craters and ridges in the ice," writes Billy Joe Fudge. "Probably has something to do with Xylems and Phloems."

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