Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Mathematics


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.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.