The Fractal Cabbage

Fractal Cabbage

Image by Flickr user tanakawho.

When I was thinking about what the header picture for this blog should be, I almost immediately thought of the fractal cabbage. The vegetable is really named Romanesco Broccoli, and the complexity of it just blows your mind. It’s related to broccoli and cauliflower and is of a vibrant, almost neon green color. The most amazing thing about Romanesco Broccoli is that it resembles a natural fractal. The bud is made of a logarithmic spiral of cones, each one itself a spiral of cones, each one… Well, you get the point. It seems that the self-similarity goes on down to a level where you can actually use a scanning electron microscope. There are a few excellent pictures of the fractal cabbage in different scales in this article.

It also turns out that if you start counting the spirals in the bud in clockwise and counterclockwise direction, those numbers are always neighbouring Fibonacci numbers. A great (and lengthy) explanation why this happens (actually quite a lot in the nature) can be found here.

So, the most amazing vegetable ever! It’s a fractal! It looks like something that was computer generated! And there are Fibonacci numbers involved!

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