World's Shiniest Fruit

You'd be forgiven if you thought the images above are of man-made baubles but they're actually real fruit of the African plant Pollia condensata. What's more, the shiny fruit got its iridescent color in a very unusual way.

Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science explains:

Under the microscope, Vignolini saw that the outer part of the fruit consists of three to four layers of thick-walled cells (labelled “1? in the image below). Each cell contains yet more layers, made of cellulose fibres. The fibres all run parallel to one another, but each layer is slightly rotated against the one above it, producing an elegant spiral.

As light hits the top layer, some gets reflected and the rest passes through. The same thing happens at the next layer, and the next, and so on. Provided the layers are exactly the right distance apart, the reflected beams of light amplify each other to produce exceptionally strong colours. The technical term is “multilayer interference”. Or alternatively: “Ooh, shiny!”


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Newest 4 Comments

There ist the second Question: it is edible and how does it taste?
Just imagine a shiny dessert prepared from this berries...
Wikipedia just cites "no nutritional value"...
The Net can be cited as "exceptionally poor nutritional value and unpalatable taste"...
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