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Did you know Romanesco cauliflower is an unfinished bouquet?

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Romanesco cauliflower is iconic due to its hypnotic spirals of swirling green cones. These spirals form fractal geometry patterns, a set of shapes that repeats itself on multiple scales, like ice crystals or branches of certain trees.

Computer modeling and genetic analysis revealed that the beautiful patterns of Romanesco are the result of a chain reaction [1]. Buds normally destined to bloom don’t further develop into flowers but instead produce more buds. New buds form at an accelerated rate leading to pyramid-like spiral patterns. All cauliflowers originate from one wild species. The shape of Romanesco results from mutations in specific genes selected over centuries, in a process which turned tasteless weeds into nutritious vegetables.

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New research uncovers the cellular basis of fractal patterns in Romanesco and cauliflower. Complex fractal structures may be created from chain reactions that build stems on top of stems.