Monday, February 22, 2010

Purple Mutant Broccoli

The garden is a never-ending source of surprises. The latest head-scratcher is this unexpected plant pictured above. The largest by far of the Romanesco broccoli, it has put forth a head that looks like some kind of cross between Romanesco and Purple Sprouting varieties. You can see the separate, fractal-like florets, but they are much less sharply defined than in a regular Romanesco, where the little components look as if they have been etched out by a laser beam. And instead of a pale. luminescent green, it has a heathery, purple color. Not unattractive, but slightly weird. It makes me a bit nervous.

Here is Purple Sprouting broccoli, which, like the Romanesco, I've never grown before. But it looks like what I expect from the label -- lots of small sprouts, just starting to appear, that will hopefully go on producing for some time. Both sets of seedlings came from Cottage Garden Nursery. Could there be cross-pollination?

Just for reference, this is what Romanesco is supposed to look like. The mutant head is three times bigger than these delicate specimens. We'll see what it tastes like. But then maybe we will end up with alien lifeforms sprouting from our foreheads. . . .

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