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Nature’s Ice Sculptures

By Robert Macias

Normally a fairly ordinary-looking plant, frostweed (Verbesina virginica) sometimes puts on quite a show — usually when the first hard freeze of the year sends temperatures into the low 20s. “Sap in the stems freezes and expands, pushing out of cracks in the stem to form these ice ribbons,” says Dana Price, TPWD botanist. Frostweed can be found in most parts of the state, usually in semishaded locations in open woodlands or along stream banks. Most people never have a chance to see these delicate ice formations, though, since they usually melt soon after sunrise.

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