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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Developments in Experimental Pattern Formation

Plant patterns and plant phylloFaxis

Author: Newell, AC (University of Warwick)


The tiling of plant surfaces into polygonal shapes (stripes, hexagons) and the arrangements of leaves and stickers (phylloFaxis) has intrigued material scientists since the time of Kepler. Drawing on recent ideas of Paul Green and colleagues and of Donady and Conder, Patrick Shipman and I have suggested (J. Theor Bio. 236, 154-197 (2005)) that most observed patterns can be understood as the energy minimizing buckling states of a compressed sheet (the plant's Funica) on an elastic foundation.