Call It What You Will

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Call it mandala. Mandala is a sanskrit word meaning “circle” or “encircle.” The mandala symbolizes the cycle of life, nature’s design. It is represented in the cone portion of the Echinacea purpurea and enjoyed by the bees.

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Call it Spirographic, or webomatic, or spidergraphic.

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Call it Fibonacci. Turtle shells have special mystical significance. The top of the turtle shell or carapace consists of 33 plates or scutes. Five spinal scutes called vertebrals, 8 flanking scutes (4 per side) called pleurals and ringed in by 20 edge scutes called marginals. There is an extra pseudo-scute called the cervical making 21 in all. On the bottom or plastron are six pairs of scutes from head to tail called the gular, humeral, pectoral, abdominal, femoral and anal. The intergulars are very tiny and are part of the gulars. The 5 vertebral scutes and the 8 surrounding pleurals make 13, then add in the 21 scutes around the edge for a total of 34 scutes in all and the sequence follows the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth terms of the Fibonacci Sequence where each succeeding number in the sequence is obtained by adding the previous two (e.g. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc).

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Fibonacci sequences appear in biological settings, in two consecutive Fibonacci numbers, such as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruitlets of a pineapple,the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pine cone. When one looks very closely into the centers of flowers, especially those daisy types, and with the help of the macro feature of a digital camera, the design is everywhere.

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Rudbeckia submentosa ‘Henry Eilers’

Sierra Exif JPEG

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Mum and friend

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Calendula officinalis ‘Pacific Beauty’

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Be it mathematics, mystery or magic, call it what you will, I call it perfection.


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23 Responses to Call It What You Will

  1. Mark and Gaz says:

    Perfection of nature indeed 🙂


  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You do have a mathematical mind. You lost me at the pseudo scute. 😉 Nothing like giving one a math lesson without them knowing it.

    Oddly enough, Lisa, I was good at math, being the only girl in my high school calculus class! But I sort of glaze over at the details and much prefer looking at the purty pick-tures!

  3. indygardener says:

    I call it fascinating.

    Good one, Carol. I agree.

  4. Layanee says:

    Perfection indeed. I never cease to marvel at the intricacy and symmetry of that found in nature. We just copy don’t we.

    Hi Layanee, yes, we can but marvel at nature’s designs, including us!

  5. gail says:

    Nature is marvelous~it never ceases to amaze and delight me. Lovely images. xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. Amaze and delight, too true.

  6. I think that humans are primordially programmed to respond to patterns and Mother Nature provides us with an abundance of opportunities to notice that she is the ultimate genius in creating them. These pictures are fascinating.

    “Primordially programmed”…I LOVE that, Michaele! Genius, brilliance, magic, Nature has it all.

  7. My Kids Mom says:

    It is our innate sense of mathematics that makes such designs enjoyable to us. We don’t have to know the math to know that they appeal. You’ve done a beautiful job of demonstrating that which most people appreciate without noticing.

    Hi Jill, thanks for joining in here. I know we are gifted with the sense of symmetry and being attracted to it, whether in human faces or pretty flowers. Math explains it, but we needn’t know the details to know how we feel about it.

  8. entwinedlife says:

    Can’t get enough of these! Thanks!

    Thanks Entwined. I had fun choosing the examples. Nearly every macro shot of the center of any flower was a good illustration of the designs found everywhere in Nature.

  9. Jane Gladden says:

    Ahhhh, lovely. Can all this just be by chance? I think not.

    Thanks Jane. I agree with you, this is not by chance.

  10. Cindy says:

    Fibonacci sequences in nature fascinate me but if I think too long about it, I get dizzy. Or dtizy. 😉

    Hi Cindy, thanks for visiting. It is all I can do to spell Fibonacci! HA

  11. Donna B. says:

    Beautiful observations! I’ve always loved the details within a daisy-type flower… the Fibonacci? Right?
    See, those who say nature cannot be educational certainly never thought about this!
    Your post today also reminds me: It’s pinecone season!!! I love collecting pinecones around this time too… seeing the different variations…

    Hi Donna, thanks for stopping by. Fibonacci is indeed apparent in the daisy flower centers, as it is in almost everything in nature if looked at closely enough, even with a microscope. Send anyone who says nature is not educational over to any gardener, they will be set to rights. I love pinecones, too. They are the perfect collectible!

  12. Marie Brown says:

    I never knew that it could be explained so beautifully that i almost understand! Thanks!

    Thanks Marie. I don’t understand all the number sequences, but can see the designs. I am a visual learner. HA

  13. I’ve been enjoying making flower arrangement over 20 years. When I studied Japanese flower arrangement, Ikebana, I had a chance to see the drawing of first formal Ikebana design called “Rikka”. It remined me Mandara.

    Hi Makiko, thanks for sharing here. I am in awe of the Japanese style of gardening and flower arranging. You must be very talented.

  14. Alison says:

    Wonderful pictures of a wonderful feature of nature! I especially like the Zinnia.

    Hi Alison, thanks so much. The centers of zinnias are a favorite of mine, too. I love the little true flowers, as do the bees.

  15. Dee A. Nash says:

    The circle and your pics are perfection squared.

    Good one, Dee! Thanks for visiting.

  16. sharon says:

    yes natures most efficient plan..form hives ……to whatever…and the rest is fractals………

    Hi Sharon, thanks for adding in here. It sounds like you know your math!

  17. Sandy & Richard says:

    ‘Mathmatics is gods handwriting in the universe’ Gallileo
    So fasinating and wonderful, architects have used the ‘Golden Mean’ for thousands of years, borrowed from mother nature. But oh to be good at maths, calculators are my friend, unfortunately. I do love to draw though.
    Thank you so much for all of your wonderfully detailed images Frances.

    Hi Sandy and Richard, thanks for adding to the conversation here. I love the quote from Gallileo. The ability of man to see the patterns in nature and understand them gives one hope for the future, whatever that may be.

  18. Jen Y says:

    A few years ago my son started wearing his hair pretty short. I noticed he has this pattern in his hair. The center is on the top/back of his head & his hair lays in this pattern if it’s kept short. – Kind of funny – I told him he has Fibonacci hair. :o)

    It’s gorgeous to God’s pattern in everything he created.

    Hi Jen, thanks for sharing that about your son’s mathematical hair! Very cool, as is everything about these patterns.

  19. Lola says:

    I’m lost but I have noticed the shell of the turtle is different & interesting. I shall look closer next time I encounter a turtle. Seems all things forming a circle has a connecting factor. Thanks for the info, Ms Frances.

    Hi Lola, thanks for visiting. I don’t understand the math either, but can appreciate the genius of it. Turtles are fascinating and we are lucky to have a few here in the garden.

  20. Katherine Baker says:

    Nature never ceases to amaze me. You don’t either, Frances! What fascinating photos. May I ask what kind of camera and lense you are using? I am looking for a camera to photograph landscapes (and nature in general), images in low light inside, as well as my artwork (oil paintings). We all wish you and your family the Merriest of Christmases!! May the New Year bring you much joy, good health and happiness. love, Katherine & Scott

    Hi Kathy, so nice to see you! May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, too. The camera I use is a Canon Powershot A720IS, no longer being made. But the Canon brand is a good one and I would and will buy another when this one, which has seen better days, gives out. I am a point and shoot on auto photographer, no knowledge of settings, etc., but I have learned how to read the light and know my garden well. As for indoor shots, this camera is not very good. I hope your search finds you the best camera to capture your wonderful paintings!

  21. cheryl says:

    Awesome macros Frances! The creativeness of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me.

    Hi Cheryl, thanks. Nature is so full of magic, mystery, and indeed, math!

  22. How funny that you posted this!! I wrote about the Golden Mean on Saturday. Great minds think alike! 😉 I find this math fascinating.

    Great minds, so true, Janet! The math is amazing.

  23. sharon says:

    yes interesting!

    Thanks for visiting, Sharon. The interest never stops!

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