Black Sampson Coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, does not usually bloom this late in the year, but this one shot up a single flower a couple of weeks ago. On Wednesday morning the flower was touched with frost and frozen solid as temperatures dipped into the low 20s.
As frost covered the leaves of the Echinacea and browned the summer flowers, frost flowers began to "bloom" across the prairie.
When freezing moisture exudes from the stems of Scarlet Sage, Salvia coccinea, it forms thin ribbons of ice known as frost flowers.
Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, is named for its ability to produce frost flowers. Frostweed does not produce frost flowers as easily as the Scarlet Sage. I think it is because the Frostweed stems are much thicker. It seems to require a longer period of freezing temperatures before the frost flowers break through the stems. On this cold morning, only this thin Frostweed stem could be found with frost flowers.
After this icy interlude, I will return to posting additional pictures of the fall colors on my prairie.