Sunflowers Follow The Fibonacci Pattern

Samuel Reason - November 5th, 2020

What some thought was just a hypnotic pattern found in sunflowers, nature was actually following a strict mathematical path. It can only be described as nature literally blowing our minds. Sunflowers are definitely beautiful and their giant yellow heads flowing the sunlight are iconic. Some of the most picturesque landscape paintings or photos show bright yellow sunflowers against a blue sky. Furthermore, they are a favorite photo to put on Instagram or Pinterest.

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And of course, we love to munch on the seeds produced by sunflowers. However, if you stop and start to study the pattern inside the flower itself. Well, then you may just be amazed. You see it is much more than just a beautiful plant and food. These yellow flowers are known to biologists as a mathematical marvel. You see the pattern of the seeds found inside a sunflower’s head follows the Fibonacci sequence perfectly: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144… you get the idea.

If you remember your math class lessons at all then you would remember that the Fibonacci sequence means each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. When it comes to sunflowers, the center spirals are formed following this sequence for numbers. As a result, you find two series of curves going in opposition directions winding around each other. It starts are the center, continuously going outwards until it reaches the petals. Each seed sits at a little angle against its neighbor to ensure the spiral forms.

For maximum optimization, the sunflower picks an angle which is known as the golden mean: 137.5 degrees. Any other angle and the flower head would not be perfectly filled with sunflower seeds. If the sunflower did not follow the golden mean then the two spirals would not be able to form. Meaning we would not have the beautiful flower we so much love! Truly amazing to think about how sunflowers seeds are created following a perfect math sequence. The crazy part is that sometimes the flowers do seem to get the sequence wrong, showing us that life is indeed messy.

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