Somewhere in the middle of the Ghana forest in Africa, there grows a plant with fruit that looks more like a shining Christmas ornament than something you might eat. The shimmering blue fruit comes from the Pollia condensate and is believed to be the shiniest living thing on Planet Earth, according to a new study.
We found out about this amazing-looking fruit on the website Ecorazzi.com.
The fruits of the Pollia are iridescent, similar to soap bubbles or the back of your favorite music CD. Their color changes when you look at them from different angles. Its iridescent features don’t actually contain any pigment, rather they rely on a particular physical cell structure to reflect other colors.
The fruit produces its shiny iridescence through complex layers of cells, each running parallel to the one above but slightly rotated, producing a spiral. As light hits the cells, some of it is reflected off each layer. The layers amplify the effect, producing an extreme gleam.
But if you’re thinking this might be something good to pack in your kid’s lunch, well, not really. Pollia is dry and offers little if any nourishment, although the non-shiny berry of the plant is said to be tasty.
Researchers believe one reason for the fruit’s shininess may be that birds are attracted to it and use it to decorate their nests, or perhaps even in mating displays.
I’d like to get some to hang on my Christmas tree this year.
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