Bizarre ice formations

While walking along the new sustrans cycle path near Barcaldine, we spotted some strange white objects growing on branches. These were on beech trees along the track, and on branches that had fallen to the ground beneath them. On closer inspection they turned out to be ice that was growing out from the branches in long, thin strands.

Fortunately I was with our local botanical recorder, Carl, and he was able to identify it as Hair Ice. This is formed when a particular fungus in the wood forces the water out of the pores of the wood, and on a cold morning like today it will form these hair-like strands.

It was an amazing sight, and it was interesting to hear at the weekend a mention of it on BBC Radio Scotland, and their plea for someone to identify it for them. I emailed in, and a week later my answer (thanks to Carl’s knowledge!) was read out on the radio!

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