These formations are called frost flowers. They appear when the ground is above freezing and the air temperature is below. The roots take in water and when they send it up to the plant the water freezes, bursting the stems and sending ice crystals out into the air.
That is what the science literature says about these things. I call them snow swirls, and I think there are other possible explanations for their appearance. They look like scarves, and I wonder if the plants get tired of looking brown and bare in the winter and they are just accessorizing.
It is also possible that nature is just showing off, letting us know that it can make gorgeous formations that make the mona lisa look drab. If that is the point, I am duly impressed.
Of all the possibilities why nature is so extravagant in draping the natural world with beauty, I choose this one. These beautiful snow swirls are for you. They are little gifts that say that despite the tiresome repetitive conversations with your demented wife, there is beauty in the world.
Since you don’t have time to find your own snow swirls, they are here for you to enjoy for a few minutes before you must go out and investigate that odor that might be burning polyester. You wish you did not know what that smells like, but of course you do.
Before you go I want you to know something about all this extravagant natural beauty in the world: You are part of it. You are your own unique snow swirl. Your soul is artfully draped around stalks that look dead and dry. You may not feel gorgeous right at this minute or even after you brush your teeth and comb your hair, but dear one you are as lovely as any snow swirl.