Caption: Florets (flower buds, apical meristem) of a cauliflower head (Brassica oleracea botrytis). Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae (Cabbage family). It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd or inflorescence meristem) is eaten while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are used in vegetable broth or discarded. Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with white inflorescence meristem. The Brassica oleracea species is the same species as cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens, though they are of different cultivar groups. Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower has several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health. Sulforaphane is an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. The compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances. A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The arrangement of florets around the head is according to a Fibonacci series, a number series in which each number is the sum of the two preceding it.
Magnification*: x20
Type: SEM
Copyright 2008 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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