The spy who came in from the cold
The person in the title is me, who came in after two hours yesterday morning spent spying on the ice formations produced by frostweed plants (Verbesina virginica) in Great Hill Park. For the first time this season the temperature in Austin dipped below freezing overnight, as the forecast had predicted, so I felt duty-bound to bundle up and go out into the morning’s 29° in hopes that that would have been cold enough for frostweed to do its thing. It had been.
Unlike pictures of the phenomenon I’ve posted here in other years, this photograph emphasizes the way the ice first splits the outer part of a frostweed stalk. Notice that the tissue just inside the brown bark is still green.
If you’re new to frostweed’s ice trick and would like more of an explanation, along with images showing other aspects of the phenomenon, you can follow these links:
© 2016 Steven Schwartzman