Friday, November 23, 2018

Ice Flowers

When conditions are just right this happens.

Ice Flowers. Shown here on a salvia plant that is growing in the cracks between the bricks at the base of our deck stairs. Essentially a weed that we never got around to pulling. Rather serendipitous.

I'd heard of the phenomena but had never seen it.

Until now.

When I went to take the trash out this morning I noticed the plants had a white growth on them.

I looked closer and the light bulb went off, and I was off to get my camera. Chance and the prepared mind and all that.

They were quite delicate and fragile.

I originally wrote, "Water is drawn up and then extrudes out of the plant stem and forms thin ribbons of ice", alas this is incorrect. Dr. James Carter has a number of web pages on the subject and in an email exchanged noted that detailed scientific explanation involves "Ice Segregation", a process previously unknown to me.

Instead of trying to explain it here, I'll link to one of Dr. Carter's web pages on the subject, as he does a much better job explaining it than I would. Of course, any remaining errors in this post are mine alone.

And be sure to check out Dr. Carter's page on Ice Flowers as well.

If I wasn't careful, moving the stems and leaves to get a clear shot could shatter the flowers.

Touching them released the double whamming of physical force and heat, and bye bye they were gone.

And of course once the sunlight hit it was all over.

They were nice while they lasted.

And a wonderful surprise to start the morning.

And as you can see, they are small. That is a US 25¢ piece for scale.

So keep a weather eye.

And keep looking down.

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