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In your most creative moments, do you dream up exotic variations of existing fruits and vegetables? I do! One day, I might write a fiction cookbook featuring the likes of star-shaped carrots, black-and-white striped beans and pink kiwi fruits. Meanwhile, why not enjoy some of nature’s own groovy creations? My vote for the most unbelievably beautiful vegetable in the world goes to the Romanesco Broccoli, a.k.a. fractal cauliflower (photo credit @Noodlefish):

I took the above picture in a Paris grocery store, two weeks ago. Although the fluorescent lighting did not do justice to this star of the produce shelf, you can appreciate the precision with which mother nature expresses her intricate, fractal designs, Romanesco style. @Noodlefish‘s picture (above, top) is definitely more color-realistic. Noodlefish also alerted me to a wonderful article by John Walker, exploring mathematical and artistic interpretations of the fractal architecture of the chou Romanesco, as it is known in France. John Walker thus captures the wonderment this fractal cauliflower inspires: “This is so visually stunning an object that on first encounter it’s hard to imagine you’re looking at a garden vegetable rather than an alien artefact created with molecular nanotechnology. But of course, then you realise that vegetables are created with molecular nanotechnology, albeit the product of earthly evolution, not extraterrestrial engineering.” Thank you, John!


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