Nature’s Geometry: Succulents—Orostachys spirals

Nature's Geometry: Succulents by Russel Ray

I’m always on the prowl for plants that exhibit relationships derived from the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. The sequence was published by Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (ca. 1170–1250), better known as Fibonacci, in 1202 in his book, Liber Abaci. (In his book, Fibonacci also introduced Arabic numerals to the Western world. If not for him, we might still be using Roman numerals!)

Fibonacci introduced the Fibonacci sequence of numbers to solve a problem on rabbit breeding. Apparently, rabbit overpopulation was a serious problem in Italy in his time. Here’s the problem:

Beginning with a single pair of rabbits (one male and one female), how many pairs of rabbits will be born in a year, assuming that every month each male and female rabbit gives birth to a new pair of rabbits, and the new pair of rabbits itself starts giving birth to additional pairs of rabbits after the first month of their birth?

Rabbit bathFibonacci determined that the first pair of rabbits would have 377 pairs of rabbits, or 754 rabbits during the year (assuming no rabbit deaths!). If you’ve ever taken care of rabbits for an extended period of time, you know that 754 rabbits is a gross undervalue!

Without going into a great deal of mathematics, the relationship between individual numbers in the Fibonacci sequence creates what are called golden segments, golden ratios, golden squares, golden triangles, and golden spirals.

I became fascinated with the Fibonacci sequence in 1972, and how they manifest themselves throughout nature and the universe.

Golden spirals are my favorite, and I recently discovered the Orostachys genus, species of which are absolutely gorgeous in their display of spirals. Here are two pictures of Orostachys spinosa, a plant that now is high on my list of must-have plants:

Orostachys spinosa

7 thoughts on “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents—Orostachys spirals

  1. mary

    good post to think on 🙂
    and I now have added Orostachys spinosa, to my must have list 🙂
    I played/worked in my greenhouse yesterday repotting Jatropha’s, Pachypodiums and a couple Adenium Obesum among other plants like Brugmansias …I decided to clean while I was moving them inside, we had a really cold morning after it being 84F yesterday…
    I am an plant addict 🙂 keeps me sane in this world that is out of tilt

    so Thank you for sharing this post and giving me a new hunt 🙂
    Take Care…You Matter …

    mary

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  2. Bumba

    The expression of the Fibonacci sequence abounds in nature. The Fibonacci numbers pop up like daises in the world of plants. And that includes daisies. The spiral generated by the phi proportion creates the most efficient way to fit things into a small space. Like seeds in a pod, leaves on a limb. A definite evolutionary leg up. (Pardon the closeness of the metaphors). Anyhow, it truly is amazing that a mathematical concept becomes passed on genetically. To create such magnificent flowers and plants.

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