Sometimes, in our search for the next extraordinary thing to astound us, we tend to tune out what Mother Nature has to offer. I think it’s only fitting to remind ourselves from time to time that, regardless of the human tendency and compulsion to create something beautiful (and sometimes some of them can reach sublime heights), there are truly beautiful and fascinating things in nature that any human creation would be hard put to match.
These include colorful plants, fruits, flowers, fungi, and invertebrates that look commonplace at first glance but as you look closer, you will see fascinating shapes, whorls and patterns that will make you appreciate just how complex and inscrutably beautiful nature can be. Consider these few examples.
1. Romanesco broccoli (Brassica oloracea; also known as Roman cauliflower)
2. Sunflower (Helianthus from Gr. “helios” = sun). There are about 70 species in this genus.
3. Kiwifruit, or just plain kiwi (genus Actinidia; also known as Chinese gooseberry) comprising about 60 species)
4. Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus; also known as toadstool); around 14,000 mushroom species have been described
5. Cucurbitaceae flower (also called cucurbits) — a plant family comprising 95 genera (including squash, cucumber, etc.)
6. Starfish (Class Asteroida) — star-shaped echinoderms; there are roughly 1,500 starfish species around the world
7. Zebra Stripes Hosta (genus Hosta; also known as plantain lilies) — hostas are shade-tolerant foliage plants
8. Skeleton flowers (Diphylleia grayi) are actually white flowers that become transparent when they come in contact with water
9. Aloe plant (genus Aloe, of which Aloe vera is the most popular), showing fractal patterns when seen from above