A team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Essex has found the truth behind the mysterious blue sheen on a certain begonia species. According to the study, this plant performs quantum mechanics to survive in the dark.

According to the study published in the journal Nature Plants, the plant Begonia pavonina, which is endemic in Malaysia, produces shiny blue leaves not for aesthetic appeal but for energy harvesting. The said begonia species performs a unique photosynthesis process, where its blue leaves turn light into chemical energy.

Begonia pavonina or "peacock begonia" is usually found on the forest floor of Southeast Asia, which means that not much light reaches the plant. In order to survive in the dark, the plant relies on photosynthetic chemicals that can absorb various wavelengths of light. resulting to the begonia's blue leaves.

The Washington Post notes that the photosynthetic structures called iridoplasts, which are responsible for giving the photosynthetic machinery in plants, have a different structure in Begonia pavonina. Upon close observation using an electron microscope, the researchers discovered that the iridoplasts are stacked on top of each other with a thin film of liquid separating them.

“The light that is passing through gets slightly bent -- it's called interference. So you have this sort of iridescent shimmer," said Heather Whitney of the University of Bristol in the U.K. and lead author of the study.

The multiple bending of light results to what we see as blue sheen on the begonia's leaves. The researchers also believe that this unique formation of iridoplasts results to the slower reaction of light to photosynthetic chemicals for more efficient light gathering.

"It's just wonderful and logical to think that a plant has evolved an ability to physically manipulate the lighting around it in a variety of different ways. I think it really raises the prospect that this type of phenomenon might even be more widespread than we realize in the plant kingdom. Perhaps we just don't notice other plants that are doing this because they don't have a strange color," Whitney said via Popular Mechanics.