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The Incredible Frost Flower


It is as beautiful as it is rare. A frost flower is created on autumn or early winter mornings when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the stems of plants or occasionally wood.  This extrusion creates wonderful patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous frozen petioles giving this phenomenon both its name and its appearance.


Conditions have to be just so for frost flowers to form. Early winter are the optimum time to come across them as although the weather conditions must be freezing, it is vital that the ground is not, so water can be sucked up in the stem.


As the temperature gets to freezing or just below, the sap in the  stem of the plants will expand. As it does so, the outer layer of the stem comes under increasing pressure and
microscopically thin cracks, known as linear fissures, begin to form. These will finally give way under the pressure of the sap and split open, forming cracks for the water to come out through and then freeze.


Water is continuously being drawn up the plant’s stem while the ground remains unfrozen. It travels up the plants external structural axis (stem!)and reaches the split or
splits. As it does so, it oozes slowly out and it freezes. Yet more water is coming behind


This new water reaches the cracks and it too freezes, pushing the previous slither of ice away from the stem. And in this manner, the amazing ‘petals’ that you seein these pictures are formed.

Incredibly, the frost flower effect can happen to wood even when it has been made in to a fence or a gate, as seen above. In this case the water is extruded through the pores in
the wood rather than the cracks.


 The frost flower has a number of other names: you may know them as frost castles, ice castles, ice blossoms, or even the very scientific sounding crystallo-folia.Yet the name
is something of a misnomer: frost is created by water vapour.
Frost flowers on the other hand, are formed from liquid water.
If you come across one – be careful! Rather than attempt to pick it up, if you have a camera or a phone with you … take a picture instead. Frost flowers are incredibly delicate and will  more often than not …. shatter when touched.

Not only that,  as they are made of such thin sheets of ice, they will  melt away as the sun rises higher in the sky.You may get  frost flowers again the following day, but unless the conditions  are just right the chances are your first  glimpse may be your


38 comments on “The Incredible Frost Flower

  1. Theresa
    August 10, 2013

    Beauty in such small, unexpected places… Thank you for the reminder.

  2. dorannrule
    August 11, 2013

    Well, I have never seen a frost flower but now I will always be looking for them (camera in hand). Wonderful! And thanks for sharing.

    • Judy
      August 13, 2013

      No I had never seen or heard of it before either. What an amazing display by nature. cheers Judy 🙂

  3. Strawberryindigo
    August 12, 2013

    What a exquisite and unexpected phenomena. Thanks for sharing, I never heard of a frost flower before.

    • Judy
      August 13, 2013

      It was sent to me in an email from South Africa and I was amazed as I had never heard of it before. Pretty cool huh? cheers Judy 🙂

  4. Pam
    August 13, 2013


  5. nutsfortreasure
    August 16, 2013

    Reblogged this on Living and Lovin and commented:

  6. nutsfortreasure
    August 16, 2013

    AMAZING subject and captures!

  7. Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing this weird and wonderful phemenon. I hope I am lucky enough to see one some day.

    • Judy
      September 3, 2013

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see it? I would love to see one too but our climate here is always too hot for those sorts of things. Have a great day cheers Judy 🙂

  8. Dani Lynn
    September 3, 2013

    That’s beautiful. Never saw that before.

    • Judy
      September 16, 2013

      No I have never seen it before either. Too hot where I live but it must be amazing to see it in person. cheers Judy 🙂

  9. Carl D'Agostino
    September 5, 2013

    Unfortunately never have and never will see these in Miami, Florida. Thanks visit my blog.

  10. Carolyn Hughes
    September 17, 2013

    Stunning! Isn’t nature absolutely amazing 🙂

  11. Brigitte
    September 24, 2013

    Judy, I’ve never seen anything like this! It’s gorgeous!!

    • Judy
      September 25, 2013

      I didn’t think it was real when I first saw the photos . Too hot here for anything like that. Isn’t nature wonderful? cheers Judy

  12. Carla Saunders
    September 27, 2013

    Fascinating – ever heard or it or seen it. Thanks for sharing.
    Thank you for visiting my blog so often 🙂

  13. Anonymous
    September 30, 2013

    Very interesting! I have never heard of frost flowers. from now on, I will be looking out for them.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Judy
      October 2, 2013

      I would love to see one for real but too hot here. cheers Judy 🙂

  14. Very interesting! I have never heard of frost flowers.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Judy
      October 2, 2013

      so glad you liked it Noel cheers Judy 🙂

  15. hitandrun1964
    October 7, 2013

    Amazing and beautiful and WOW! Thank you.

  16. advocatemmmohan
    October 9, 2013

    beautiful and wonderful
    with regards

    • Judy
      October 9, 2013

      So glad that you enjoyed it. cheers Judy 🙂

  17. liz blackmore
    November 6, 2013

    Reblogged this on little box of books and commented:

  18. liz blackmore
    November 6, 2013

    Isn’t mother nature amazing!! Thank you Judy for sharing these. I hope you have been keeping well. I am just starting to get back into the swing of things and reconnecting. I apologize for my lack of communication! Hugs to you!

    • Judy
      November 7, 2013

      Hi Liz, Hugs back to you and hope you are well. I have been a bit patchy with my posts too as we are in the process of moving house and trying to do the gardens up at the new house as well. Keeps me busy. I haven’t even had time to do any art and I miss it. cheers Judy 🙂

      • liz blackmore
        November 7, 2013

        Moving is never really fun, but working with new gardens can be. The time will come when you will be able to get back to your passion! Enjoy the beauty of your labour!

      • Judy
        November 7, 2013

        Thanks Liz yep I am looking forward to that day. 🙂

  19. Mary Strong-Spaid
    November 6, 2013

    Never, never seen anything like this before!
    Beautiful. Thanks for posting!

    • Judy
      November 7, 2013

      Hi Mary, So glad you liked the post. thanks for the comment. cheers Judy 🙂

  20. Maurice A. Barry
    November 6, 2013

    I’m no stranger to frost, coming from Newfoundland Labrador, CA. This morning, when I left the house at 7:45 AM it was still -2 C. I must say, though, that I’ve never seen that.
    …but I will start looking 🙂

    • Judy
      November 7, 2013

      Hi Maurice thanks so much for commenting. I live in a hot climate so don’t see frost but I would dearly love to see one of those frost flowers. They are so delicate and beautiful aren’t they? cheers Judy 🙂

    • liz blackmore
      November 7, 2013

      I have to look as well, Maurice. The hoar frost can be interesting as it clings to various objects, but the flowers were intricate in their freeform design.

  21. ioanna aggelidaki
    November 16, 2013

    I have never heard of a frost flower, so beautiful!

    • Judy
      November 18, 2013

      Yes it’s amazingly beautiful isn’t it? cheers Judy 🙂

  22. Marilyn Vandekieft
    January 13, 2014

    A friend forwarded this to me. The frost flowers are delicately beautiful! When I see wonders like this I can only think of the creative genius of our Lord, and thank Him for giving us such beauty, sharing His creativity with us. In fact, it’s all for us!

    • Judy
      January 14, 2014

      Have you read a book called ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron? I am half way through it and she expresses the same sentiments as you. 🙂

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