The Natural World’s Most Intense Colour

The most intense colour in the biological world belongs to a tiny African berry. Iridescent blue and metallic, it literally outshines any other plant or animal substance in the world.

The plant itself is called Pollia condensata, and researchers have now explained the material magic underlying its marvelous hues: layers of cells that refract light in a manner usually seen in butterfly wings and beetle shells.

Structural colours come about not by pigments that absorb light, but the way transparent material is arranged on the surface of a substance. This fruit is one of the first known examples in plants. Scientists compared it with some other structural colours, such as the morpho butterfly wing, which is often described as the strongest structural colour. The fruit is stronger. Learn more here.

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