Sunflower Geometry

Nature’s Puzzle Fun: Sunflowers and Shapes

This sunflower is an amazing example of living geometric engineering. I know of several middle school math teachers that would giggle with delight at this mouth-watering choice of shapes and forms.

 

As you view the sunflower carefully, the discovery of cones, triangles, circles and even pentagrams suddenly show themselves in a magical and alluring way.  Nature creates a puzzle of various designs and structures all the while implementing them in a living plant.

 

The amazing thing is the shapes found inside each shape.  Notice the focus on the band of black cones, each ending with 3 dimensional shapes in a star pattern on top.  All of those star patterns connect to a cone shape that sprouts majestically from a small pentagram.  Yet, all together, they form a sweeping black band in a semi-circular pattern that divides the work and flower into each part.

 

This band separates the ever-increasing density of the sloping conical-shaped face and the flat expanding petals of the flower.  Even the colors divide into separate areas due to that black and yellow band.  Nature even allows colors to join in this dance of geometry.  The sun-kissed greens of the undeveloped seeds slope towards the more traditional sunflower yellow of the petals.  Indeed, the sunlight striking the petals actually enhances our perception of the color changing from green to black towards yellow.

 

Only nature exists in such a perfect form.  All of these shapes and colors exist for attraction.  Sure, we has humans enjoy the fragrance, sight, and complexity of the flowers but it irresistible to the insects like butterflies and bees that the plant wished to attract.  Such beauty allows a perfect winning scenario. The sunflower becomes pollinated, the insects get a meal, and we get to decorate and have a snack of sunflower seeds.  Perfect wins all around!

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