Phyllotaxis of Plant Shoots

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At the shoot tip of a plant, a new leaf grows at a fixed angle from the previous leaf, which is very frequently the golden angle 137.5°. As the plant grows, the leaves are arranged in a pattern characterized by a common fraction. This Demonstration shows you how the phyllotaxis pattern changes and what patterns would be obtained if the plant used a different angle. The golden angle is the most advantageous angle, since the plant experiences the least change and is most likely to survive.

Contributed by: Takuya Okabe (March 2014)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] T. Okabe, "Physical Phenomenology of Phyllotaxis," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 280(1), 2011 pp. 63–75. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.03.037.

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