Concluding our mini-series on the amazing flowers that bloom in winter, check out some astonishing 'flowers' that don't just bloom in the frost -- they're made of frost.
There are a couple of different types of 'frost flower'. The first refers to long, complex strands of ice which are created when water freezes inside long-stemmed plants in winter. As the plant breaks away, a beautiful 'flower' made of intertwining strands of ice is formed, just like the one below.
The other form of 'frost flower' is, if anything, even more beautiful.
In 2009, a PhD student called Jeff Bowman encountered the second type first hand: “It was amazing,” said Bowman, “I had never heard of these things before. … Seeing them out there for the first time and realizing how ubiquitous these structures are to the new sea ice environment really blew me away.”
And what are they? Scientifically speaking, they are ice crystals which form in the cold air over the Arctic Ocean, and are increasingly common as large areas of the Arctic melt due to climate change. Speaking more poetically, they are sea meadows.
Sea meadows, of ice flowers.
Image Credit: Matthias Wietz