Mathematics is everywhere in this universe. We seldom note it. We enjoy nature and are not interested in going deep about what mathematical idea is in it.
Bright, bold and beloved by bees, sunflowers boast radial symmetry and a type of numerical symmetry known as the Fibonacci sequence, which is a sequence where each number is determined by adding together the two numbers that preceded it. For example: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 24, 55, and so forth.
Scientists and flower enthusiasts who have taken the time to count the seed spirals in a sunflower have determined that the amount of spirals adds up to a Fibonacci number. This is not uncommon; many plants produce leaves, petals and seeds in the Fibonacci sequence. It’s actually the reason it’s so hard to find four-leaf clovers.
So, why do sunflowers and other plants abide by mathematical rules? Scientists theorise that it’s a matter of efficiency. In simple terms, sunflowers can pack in the maximum number of seeds if each seed is separated by an irrational-numbered angle.
The most irrational number is known as the golden ratio, or Phi. Coincidentally, dividing any Fibonacci number by the preceding number in the sequence will garner a number very close to Phi. So, with any plant following the Fibonacci sequence, there will be an angle corresponding to Phi (or ‘the golden angle’) between each seed, leaf, petal, or branch.