Ground Truth Investigations

Frostweed – White Crownbeard (Verbesina virginica)

“Frost Flowers” of the Frostweed

After the tall, perennial herb Frostweed has gone to seed and lost its leaves, the sap of the plant recedes to the bottom of the stems and into the roots, leaving little more than what would appear to be lifeless dry sticks standing in the dry leaves on the riverbank. But early on the morning of the first hard freeze of the year, the stream banks and riverine woodlands in Texas are transformed into a wonderland of ice crystal sculptures that surround the stems of the Frostweed plants. This year, on December 15, 2004, the freeze came early and translucent ribbons and whorls of ice formed like magic from the freezing sap exuding out of the cracked old stems.

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