Cambridge researchers have determined that an iridescent berry is the brightest thing in nature:
The ‘brightest’ thing in nature, the Pollia condensata fruit, does not get its blue colour from pigment but instead uses structural colour – a method of reflecting light of particular wavelengths- new research reveals. The study was published today in the journal PNAS.
Dr Beverley Glover from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, who jointly led the research, said: “This obscure little plant has hit on a fantastic way of making an irresistible shiny, sparkly, multi-coloured, iridescent signal to every bird in the vicinity, without wasting any of its precious photosynthetic reserves on bird food. Evolution is very smart!”
Because of how it is created, the colour of the Pollia condensata fruit does not fade. The researchers found that samples of the fruit in herbarium collections dating back to the 19th century were as colourful and shiny as ones grown today.