In the Surprising Science blog, The Smithsonian brings to attention the Pollia condensata, a perennial herb found in the forested regions of Africa that sports "small metallic fruits" which have "long been used for decorative purposes because of an unusual property: They stay a vibrant blue color for years or even decades after they?ve been picked."
Intrigued, a team of researchers from Kew, the University of Cambridge and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum decided to look into how this plant produces such a dazzling and persistent color. When they attempted to extract a pigment to study, though, they were surprised to discover the fruit had none.
When they examined P. condensata on a cellular level, they realized that the fruit produces its characteristic color through structural coloration, a radically different phenomenon that is well-documented in the animal kingdom but virtually unknown in plants. They determined that the fruit's tissue is more intensely colored than any previously studied biological tissue -- reflecting 30 percent of light, as compared to a silver mirror, making it more intense than even the renowned color of a Morpho butterfly?s wings. Their findings were revealed in a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
|Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature|
|Brian Greene: "Our universe is not the only universe."|
|Ten Facts About Diamonds|
|Scientists Demonstrate Mammalian Regeneration|
|Fingerprints Remain the Same for Life|
|“What can we do to make responsible use of plastic a reality? First: reject the lie.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“Lifting the electric motors out of Teslas and putting them in the chassis of other, formerly gas guzzling cars.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|On Instagram, Everyone Takes the Exact Same Photos|
|“Sending you changes in your media feed that are calculated to adjust you slightly to the liking of some unseen advertiser.”|
|“This incredible inconsistency can make English really hard to master for non-native speakers.”|
|Review of BenQ's treVolo S Portable Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Go the Fuck to Sleep: A Children's Bedtime Book|
|“The cost could be so near to zero it will effectively be free.”|
|“Rejuvenation is Finally an Industry.”|