There is a point during our fall season that borders on the winter side.
For the last week or so, NW Arkansas has been bombarded by freezing, cold air. Before this cold snap, the weather had been pleasant and mild.
When these conditions happen, frost flowers appear.
At first glance, these flowers look like little pieces of trash on the side of the road. Upon closer examination, you will discover this.
Frost flowers form when the water in the ground has not frozen but the air temperature is below freezing. As the water creeps up the stem, it freezes and bursts through the stem. Between the outside cold air and more water freezing up through the stems, ice crystals form sometimes swirling around the plant like cotton candy.
This phenomenon only occurs on certain plants. In our area, dittany or false oregano (Cunila origanoides), yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia), and white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) are the most common.
Once the ground has frozen or the stems of these plants have ruptured completely, the frost flower season will be over until next year.
Do you have frost flowers in your area?