Why Is Everything Round?

by Daisy

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eggs, passionfruit, figs

As I looked at today’s harvest of passionfruit, eggs, figs, and (not in the pic), muscadines, I couldn’t help but think about the roundness of it all; four very different things, none of them perfectly spherical, but definitely on the rounded end of things.

Berries, stone fruit, grapes, mushroom caps, the list goes on. I spend time every day, I think, chasing delicious round things as they roll across my counter or fall off the kitchen windowsill.

But why?

Simply put, a round shape is the most efficient way to package something. A sphere has the lowest surface area relative to volume. As physicist Neil Tyson points out, if you were to put a jumbo-size package-worth of Cheerios cereal into a round container, the container would only have to have a 4.5 inch radius. Most things would be much more efficiently packaged in the round (if you didn’t count the rolling away part).

In nature, in the case of fruit, the round shape, particularly the small, round shape, makes for an efficient package both from the standpoint of its creation AND its delivery; a small, round object makes a nice size and shape for seed dispersal by small animals and gravity.

As for the egg, well, any hen will tell you a round egg is an enormous blessing.

And we love round shapes, too. Studies have shown our brains light up when we look at round shapes. We are attracted to round architecture and design in a visceral sense. Scientists propose our minds have long come to associate roundness with safety and therefore find roundness pleasurable and comforting while sharp things remind us of danger.

And although I don’t have any scientific studies to back it up, I, at least, associate roundness with tasty garden bounty, too.

Do you have any delicious round things in your garden this time of year?



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen N August 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm

We had the most luck with round this year – our corn, herbs and beans may have had a tough time, but we’ve had an excellent run of onions, beets and rutabaga.

Daisy August 28, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Carmen N–The year of the round. Love rutabaga and beets.

joleen February 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Thank you for sharing this pic. The minute i saw the passion fruit, it answered a nagging question for me. These fruit have been showing up under my orange and lemon trees. (I think my neighbor is “sharing” them with me?) I thought they were avcados at first but obviously that was wrong. Now I know! Thank you!

Daisy February 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm

joleen–Ha! Yes, they do like to travel!

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