Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

The Objective : In order to measure the angles of leaves in rotation around a stem I visited the Fullerton Arboretum with my father and sister. We identified a variety of plants, and took pictures and measured the angles. Measurement was not easy using a simple protractor, and sometimes the leaves were disturbed by simply touching them. However, in the end we were able to collect good measurements on six different samples. In each case we measured from three different places on the plant.


Various Plants at the Fullerton Arboretum, Apples, Cauliflowers, Pinecones, Pineapples, Camera, Protractor, Knife, Ruler, and Research Materials


The table below shows the results of my data collection at the Arboretum

Name Measurement 1st 2nd 3rd
Fullerton Centennial Miniature Rose 137o 137o 134o
Lady's Finger Banana 135o 136o 139o
Black Sapote, Chocolate Pudding Tree 132o 136o 137o
Nepeta Tuberosa, Catmint 137o 137o 139o
Cereus Peruvia, Peruvian Apple Cactus 134o 140o 138o
Valencia Orange 137o 138o 136o


My averages for this experiment were very close to what I had expected. All of the angles I measured were within 6o of 137o. Therefore, this experiment supports my hypothesis and predictions. The angle really maximizes the space between leaves, allowing each leaf to receive the maximum amount of light. This experiment also helped me understand that there are times when things that happen in nature are really based upon the way math works.

This experiment was to determine if the Fibonacci series and the Golden Angle appear in nature, and if so hypothesize on why this may be so.

Science Fair Project done By Keren O. Rosenthal



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