The seed heads of sunflowers optimize the packing of seeds by arranging them in spirals of Fibonacci numbers.
"Patterning seeds in spirals of Fibonacci numbers allows for the maximum number of seeds on a seed head, packed uniformly, with no crowding at the center and no 'bald patches' at the edges. In other words, the sunflower has found optimal space utilization for its seed head. The Fibonacci sequence works so well for the sunflower because of one key characteristic—growth. On a sunflower seed head, the individual seeds grow and the center of the seed head continues to add new seeds, pushing those at the periphery outwards. Following the Fibonacci sequence ensures growth on the same terms indefinitely. That is to say, as a seed head grows, seeds will always be packed uniformly, and with maximum compactness." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)
"The leaf rosettes of the carnivorous Pinguicula moranensis follow a spiral phyllotaxis approaching a Fibonacci pattern while the stalked flowers arise from extra-axillary sites between the leaves…The leaves of consecutive articles of such sympodially constructed rosettes are arranged along a spiral Fibonacci pattern (with divergence angles around 137°)…Sympodial construction of flowering shoots and leaf rosettes is also known from Aloe, Gunnera and Philodendron." (Grob et al. 2007:857)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Grob V; Pfeifer E; Rutishauser R. 2007. Sympodial construction of Fibonacci-type leaf rosettes in Pinguicula moranensis (Lentibulariaceae). Annals of Botany. 100(4): 857-863.
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