No. 16 in a Series of 253,486.

BROCCOLI (Brassica).—Broccoli is a tragic case in the vegetable kingdom, a flower of rare beauty that has never been seen by the eyes of modern man. Ancient legend has it that the broccolo (such is the term for a single flower of broccoli) was once the most beautiful and poetic of all flowers, with a heavenly scent and four exquisite petals of such delicate and ethereal color that all other flowers seemed prosaic by comparison.

But we who live in this mechanical age will never know the exquisite beauty of the broccolo, for such is the sad fate of the Brassica oleracea plant that every flower bud is eaten before it blooms;—or we should say, rather, that the buds are harvested before they bloom, since there is good evidence to suggest that much more broccoli is harvested than is ever eaten. We may regard this as one of the surest tokens of the perversity of human nature, that we prefer to cut the buds from this beautiful plant and scrape them off our plates into the dog’s dish, rather than allow them to mature and brighten our gardens with their blooms.

It goes without saying that broccoli is now reproduced exclusively asexually, but the patented process is a closely guarded trade secret and cannot be revealed in these pages.

In traditional medieval herbal lore, broccoli was assigned to the special protection of St. Valentine, who was martyred by beheading.