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Romanesco broccoli (also known as Roman cauliflower, Broccolo Romanesco, Romanesque cauliflower or simply Romanesco) is an edible flower bud of the species Brassica oleracea. First documented in Italy, it is chartreuse in color. Romanesco has a striking appearance because its form is a natural approximation of a fractal. When compared to a traditional cauliflower, its texture as a vegetable is far more crunchy, and its flavor is not as assertive, being delicate and nutty.
Romanesco, showing its self-similar form
|Cultivar group||Botrytis cultivar group|
The Romanesco has been grown in Italy since the 16th century.
Romanesco superficially resembles a cauliflower, but it is chartreuse in color, and its form is strikingly fractal in nature. The inflorescence (the bud) is self-similar in character, with the branched meristems making up a logarithmic spiral. In this sense the bud's form approximates a natural fractal; each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another logarithmic spiral. This self-similar pattern continues at several smaller levels. The pattern is only an approximate fractal since the pattern eventually terminates when the feature size becomes sufficiently small. The number of spirals on the head of Romanesco broccoli is a Fibonacci number.
The causes of its differences in appearance from the normal cauliflower and broccoli have been modeled as an extension of the preinfloresence stage of bud growth, but the genetic basis of this is not known.
- Ron Knott (30 October 2010). "Fibonacci Numbers and Nature". Ron Knott's Web Pages on Mathematics. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018.
- Martin Kieffer; Michael P. Fuller; Anita J. Jellings (July 1998). "Explaining Curd and Spear Geometry in Broccoli, Cauliflower and 'Romanesco': Quantitative Variation in Activity of Primary Meristems". Planta. 206 (1): 34–43. doi:10.1007/s004250050371.
- Media related to Romanesco broccoli at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of Romanesco at Wiktionary
- Malatesta, M.; Davey, J.C. "Cultivar Identification Within Broccoli, Brassica Oleracea L. Var. Italica Plenck And Cauliflower, Brassica Oleracea Var. Botrytis L.". Acta Hortic. 407: 109–114. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.1996.407.12.
- Fractal Food: Self-Similarity on the Supermarket Shelf (John Walker, March 2005)
- A 3D model of romanesco broccoli on Sketchfab (Stuart Hogton, January 2017)
- Procedural fractal 3-D generation of Romanesco broccoli with RenderMan (Aleksandar Rodić, 2009)