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Photo Essay

2007 Ice Storm - Scenes from the Gone Native Arboretum

In January of 2007, West Texas experienced the most severe ice storm in at least two decades. Winter weather remained in the region for 10 days, surpassed only by stretches of 20 days in 1983 and 1886. The ice remained on some of the vegetation throughout the ten days, the longest recorded since the days of Anglo settlement.

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PhotoThe first "name" for the Gone Native Arboretum was "The Cactus Patch." Hundreds of clumps are found on the 16.6 acres. As a result, it is often the first plant species to be examined by a visitor.

PhotoPine needles became completely coated with ice, yet the tree trunk to the right (with green moss) was not covered. A path leads underneath a row of Afghan pines and pinyons and bordered by evergreen sumac and Texas sage.

PhotoThe northern side of the grove has succeeding windbreaks of tallgrass and Afghan pines.

PhotoIn the pasture to the north of the tree grove, a cane cholla stands isolated.

PhotoThe strong curves of the cholla are accented by the ice on the stems.

PhotoIn super close-up, an observer can see how the ice accumulated on the stems of the cholla.

PhotoTo the left the gray leaves of Texas sage without ice are duplicated by the ice on the fortunata rose and beebrush along the path to the northwestern corner of the cantina.

PhotoThe ice on the eastern red cedar was more transparent that other accumulations of ice.

PhotoIce on the old leaf midribs of Mexican bird-of-paradise accentuates its delicate arcs. The twigs of the plant provide a strong counterpoint to the design.

PhotoIn a broader view, the bird of paradise is in the foreground of a view of the jujube thicket with its yucca and prickly pear ground cover.

PhotoNotice how individual clumps of ice grew together, filling the spaces between the chinaberry fruit.

PhotoA mesquite thorn in detail shows two levels of transparency in the ice.

PhotoEven pine cones were completely covered with a sheet of ice.

PhotoThe seedhead of a tallgrass gives an observer another interpretation of how ice formed on vegetation.

PhotoThe yellow stalks of the tallgrass glowed in the white landscape.

PhotoEven a pesky weed such as careless weed became something beautiful when covered in ice.

PhotoThe structure of individual cactus, yucca, and mesquite was boldly outlined by the ice.

PhotoThe red fruit of the Chinese pistache "burned like an ember" under the ice.

PhotoThe fallen red leaves of Chinese pistache provided a startling background for delicate grasses rimmed with ice.

PhotoWindmill grass captured the ice gracefully.

PhotoFor a few hours on the third day of the storm the sun emerged for several hours. The vegetation sparkled like crystal.

PhotoA broad view of the Gone Native pasture with mesquites in the foreground and the Arizona Cypress next to the windmill.

PhotoJujube twigs were coated in ice as well.

PhotoA lotebush, still with a few leaves, was also coated with ice. Notice the tiny overwintering ovaries that will become dark blue berries in May.

PhotoThe Arizona Cypress, when coated with ice, presents a high mountain atmosphere.

PhotoSand sage collected tiny balls of ice on its tiny narrow leaves, and the branches arc gracefully against the reddish sand beneath.

PhotoThe branches of the mesquite appeared to be a low whitish fog hovering over the tawny grasses of winter.

PhotoIce on the pines were another "high mountain" scene transplanted to the broad flat Llano Estacado.

PhotoA strong wind set the pines in motion, and the ice on the trunks cracked in a regular pattern in response.

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Sibley Nature Center
1307 E. Wadley, Midland, Texas 79705
phone 432.684.6827
emai: info@sibleynaturecenter.org