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Unusual Blue Berries

"marble berries"
photo by wikipedia

African plant Pollia Condensata is very special for something. Her fruits, which many call “marble berries”, fall into the eye due to their brilliant blue color. No other plant on Earth has the color of such intensity. But it is interesting that these berries do not contain blue pigment. Where does the color come from then?

The cell walls of the berry crust are made of tiny, densely arranged threads. They form microscopically small layers that are stacked on each other, and each layer is submerged for a few degrees compared to the one below. So all these layers create a pattern that resembles a spiral coil.

The layers themselves are not blue. It is due to the way in which they are deposited. Marble berries have their intense color not thanking the pigment, but the cell structure. Most berries look blue. But when viewed from different angles, their color is blue due to the structure of cell layers in green, pink or yellow. When we come close to the berries, we will see that its surface is not uniform in color, but it looks like it is made up of a multitude of dots, similar to the color on a computer screen.

Since marble berries do not have pigment, they do not lose color even when they get off the stems. Some berries have preserved their bright colors even more than a hundred years since they were harvested. Though they are not edible because they contain only seeds, because of their color the birds are merely overwhelmed by them.

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