Year

1986

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Department of Mathematics

Abstract

This thesis is largely concerned with the study of phyllotaxis (leaf arrangement) in plants. Most higher order plants exhibit a remarkable degree of regularity in the positioning of their leaves. In a sunflower, for instance, one can perceive two sets of opposed spirals which each partition the set of florets. Intriguingly, the numbers of spirals are almost certainly consecutive members of the Fibonacci sequence (Fn = Fn-1 + Fn-2, n >= 2, F0 = 0, F1 = 1). This pattern manifests itself in 95% of those plants which produce their leaves sequentially.

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