The plan was to sweep up some magnolia petals, add them to the compost, then mow the lawn. But kale sidetracked my day.

I grow kale more for its foliage than its taste. I love the contrast between its silvery, grey-green leaves against the rich green of the rest of the vegie patch. I love the way its leaves stand proud, towering above the low-growing tangle of greenery.

But since the last time I paid the vegie patch any attention, its leaves had grown pups, buds, leaves upon leaves. I still don’t know the technical term. But you can just about make them out on the main picture.

Why do they form? What happens to them? Will leaves one day grow on the little leaves that grew out of the original leaves? And will little leaves one day grow on THEM?

I’ve disappeared into an Escher painting that goes on forever, round and round, round and round.

I stopped myself when I remembered prickly pears do the same. Pups grow out of the mother plant that can be carefully cut off, peeled and eaten. If left alone, I’m guessing pups grow on the pups and so forth.

I’m sure other plants do the same trick.

Back to kale for a minute. Are these leaflets just an anatomical oddity? Or do they serve some function? Are they clones of the mother plant? If so, can kale reproduce sexually AND produce clones?

That’s a lot of questions for a geeky gardener. But can someone please set me straight?