Who said math can’t be interesting? Fractals like these can seem too perfect to be true, but they occur in nature and plants all the time and are examples of math, physics, and natural selection at work!

When we see order in the world, we think it must be some human hand that made it so. But Galileo Galilei in his Il Saggiatore wrote, “[The universe] is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures.” There is order in nature, and artists who want to reproduce it faithfully spend hours studying nature’s forms.

Civilization has struggled to understand this perfect geometry for thousands of years. In the 4th century, Plato believed that symmetry in nature was proof of universal forms; in 1952, the famous code-breaker Alan Turing wrote a book trying to explain how such patterns in nature could be formed.

Now you can join in the debate. Upvote your favorite photo from the list, or upload your own!

#1 Aloe Polyphylla

Aloe Polyphylla

namraka Report

VilémRein 4 months ago

Almost all of the pictures contain spirals of leaves or flowers. The spirals are mathematically described as Fibbonaci spirals and these are formed due to specific angels in which new organs are formed at the border region of the shoot apical meristem of the plant. The angle is given by the genotype and the places where are the primordia of the new organs formed are characterized by formation of a local high concentration of the plant hormone auxin. And because the plant maintains the shoot apical meristem throughout its life, there are new structures also in old plants formed in this regular shape (the only precondition is there is no damage close to the apical meristem.

View more comments

#2 Romanesco Broccoli

Romanesco Broccoli

Didier Kobi Report

Rism 1 year ago

Whoah! Never see this in supermarket

View More Replies...
View more comments

#3 Crassula Buddha's Temple Plant

Crassula Buddha's Temple Plant

Grenville Report

VilémRein 4 months ago

There are no spirals, the genetically given angle of formation of new leaves is in this case exactly 90°.

View more comments

#4 Amazon Lily Pad

Amazon Lily Pad Amazon Lily Pad

imgkid.com Report

BarbaraO'Connor 1 year ago

Perfection in nature

View more comments

#5 Dahlia

Dahlia

amazon2008 Report

DariaB 5 months ago

Looks like it will make sounds if I squeeze it.

View more comments

#6 Flowers Like Jeweled Carpet

Flowers Like Jeweled Carpet

Morgan Glines Report

DanielleBrown 1 year ago

Nature is so wonderful

View more comments

#7 Drosophyllum Lusitanicum

Drosophyllum Lusitanicum

ramamayoor Report

wolvesrcool 1 year ago

to beautiful for words!!

View more comments

#8 Hoya Aldrichii

Hoya Aldrichii

John Tann Report

wildandfree 1 year ago

I love to eat the nectar from flowers of Hoya!

View more comments

#9 Fractal Cabbage

Fractal Cabbage

Epochalypse Report

DanielleBrown 1 year ago

It's too pretty to eat

View more comments

#10 Sunflower

Sunflower

Luca Postpischl Report

PiNeAPplES 1 year ago

Does anyone else see a faint star shape?

View More Replies...
View more comments

#11 Camelia

Camelia

Robbie Report

DianaShively 1 year ago

Love these so much!

View more comments

#13 Thinking Cactus

Thinking Cactus

gigingir Report

LouVarner 11 months ago

it looks like a brain to me. is that why it's called thinking cactus?

View more comments

#14 Viola Sacculus

Viola Sacculus

brcotte2007 Report

VilémRein 4 months ago

Wow, this was for me a new plant, I have never seen it before. For me a wonderful plant. Will immediately look for more info, about this miracle...

View more comments

#15 Ludwigia Sedioides

Ludwigia Sedioides

Donna Falcone Report

JoiPfost 1 year ago

This makes me want to learn to paint. It's so beautiful!

View more comments

#17 Succulents

Succulents

Jolina Report

SherBear 1 year ago

Looks like Hens & Chicks.

View more comments

#18 Pelecyphora Aselliformis

Pelecyphora Aselliformis

Peter Hunter Report

MelihYalciner 1 year ago

Welche name hat diese schöne Pflanze?

View More Replies...
View more comments

#20 Leaf Ladder

Leaf Ladder

Janet Little Report

IuliaPoenariu 5 months ago

Is this a ginkgo branch?

View More Replies...
View more comments