Researchers have published a mathematical formula to describe the processes that dictate how cauliflower-like fractals form .
The team grew thin films using a technique known as chemical vapour deposition (CVD). They adapted the CVD process so that the film would grow into shapes similar to those seen on a cauliflower. These structures were on the submicron scale.
From this work the team were able to derive the formula which describes how the cauliflower-like patterns develop over time.
Theory verses Experiment
Below are some graphics comparing the theory with experimental observations. The close agreement is clear.
Taken from the paper , courtesy of IOP publishing
 Mario Castro et al (2012) Universality of cauliflower-like fronts: from nanoscale thin films to macroscopic plants New J. Phys. 14 103039 (online here)