Mathematics of Sunflowers

Did you know that the thousands of little florets in the middle of a sunflower actually grow with the mathematical precision of a Fibonacci sequence?


An evenly-growing spiral, named after the Italian mathematician who described it, Fibonacci numbers form a sequence whereby each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. The Fibonacci sequence is often observed in nature, and the sunflower illustrates this perfectly.


Fibonacci, also known as Leonardo of Pisa was born in 1170, and considered to be "the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages."


The sunflower phenomenon is neatly illustrated in a succinct little two minute video by Scientific American - the oldest continuously-published monthly magazine in the US - which has just celebrated its 175th birthday.