The recent growth of an iridescent Morpho butterfly scale in the laboratory has raised the bar of the potential for optical biomimetics. Animals and plants boast a variety of structural colours, or sub‐micron photonic devices, comparable to the portfolio of physicists. The subject of photonics in nature began with the characterization of structural colours in animals and plants. Then came the manufacture of analogues of the natural photonic devices, employing modern, nano‐fabrication techniques. Now we have the potential for a cell culture approach to commercial‐scale productivity of optical devices. We can use living cells to make the devices for us, or at least learn from their engineering processes as they assemble their sub‐micron structures under the microscope.