sunflower patterns
Photo by Todd Trapani on Unsplash

Eerily reminiscent of something from the Da Vinci Code, a paper recently published in the Royal Society Open Science journal details how some surprising new patterns have been observed in the faces of sunflowers, Helianthus annuus.

The study details the discovery of complex new mathematical patterns after studying the distribution of seeds in sunflowers. It is known that the Fibonacci sequence occurs widely throughout the structures of earth’s organisms, from the spiral of nautilus shells to the geometrical distribution of leaves on plant stems. While other studies found that Fibonacci sequences occur in around 90% of seedheads, this new study found some flowers display more complex patterns, with 20% displaying complex patterns that don’t fit into any previously identified sequence. This means these flowers could display “super” patterns that mathematicians have yet to identify and that could reveal deeper iterations of existing patterns such as the Fibonacci sequence.