Romanesco Broccoli

by Marisa Trapani

Romanesco broccoli is a visually appealing type of broccoli. While I cannot speak to the mathematical intricacies of this vegetable, as the original poster did, I would venture to say that the beauty of the product is what draws chefs, both professional and amateur to it. Given that I’ve only ever encountered this vegetable in expensive restaurants, I think it has a certain refined edge, the “elevated” broccoli. Thus, its attraction could also lie in its ability to signal status.

“The Romanesco Broccoli is a child’s worst nightmare. It is not only a vegetable but also a display of beautiful Mathematics. The stunning design — spiraling, cone-shaped patterns — of the vegetable is evident from a bird’s-eye view. These patterns approximate a fractal, a geometrical shape that has the same statistical appearance at all scale levels. You can see that each “hump” on the broccoli looks similar to the larger vegetable. Furthermore, this spiral is actually an encoding of the fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,…): the radius of each arc in the spiral progresses according to the fibonacci sequence. This intricate spiral is apparent if you follow the “humps” from the top of the broccoli to its base. The Romanesco Broccoli is more than a source of nutrition.”

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