Fractals, fibonacci, & food: romanesco wows in garden

As some of you readers know, in addition to being a scientist, I’m also an avid gardener and photographer. Every now and then I do posts on gardening or photography. I feel like I bring a scientist’s eye to the garden and that was true a few days ago when I captured the above picture of Broccoli Romanesco.
romanesco-knoepflerBoth normal people and scientists have been wowed at the fractal patterns in nature for centuries. This winter I mainly planted regular broccoli and cauliflower but threw in 3 romanesco plants for the heck of it later on. It’s been a dark, cold, and wet winter so when I pop out to the garden often it has been dodging rain drops to just get broccoli or cauliflower to eat.

Meanwhile the romanescos buried in the garden have also been growing, mostly unobserved. With all the other cruciferous vegetables gone for stir fry  and other dishes, one day recently with a nice break in the weather I thought to check on the romanesco and was struck by its beauty both in a naturalistic sense and mathematically. I start thinking of Fibonacci numbers too.

mantis on sunflower

There’s both a randomness and organization to a plant like this. I also in a way am reminded of sunflowers as well when I look at romanesco. Above is one of the more striking photos of sunflowers from my garden in past years with two praying mantises (manti?) hunting for bees. Note the fractal-like spiral in the flower.

While the romanesco may not be a perfect fractal, it is remarkable even so. At some point of course we’ll have to eat this amazing romanesco flower, which also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse. By the way, latter in the year one mantis caught and ate a bee. It’s crazy what you can see out in the garden.

For more pics and videos including from my garden, check this page out.

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