Physics explains how pollen gets its stunning diversity of shapes

The varied patterns can all be explained by a process called phase separation

pollen shapes

PATTERNS APLENTY  Pollen from flowering plants comes in myriad shapes (as seen in these scanning electron microscope images, gray). Computer simulations based on a physics process called phase separation reproduced the grains’ shapes (orange).

SEM images: PalDat.org; Simulations: Asja Radja

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