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Lovers care about those of the daisy but those who love flowers and grow them in their garden will certainly have wondered one day how many flower petals are and if there is a rule that establishes it. It is uncomfortable to count them, but curiosity remains and a recent study comes to our aid that reveals the secret. A second idea has much more ancient origins and asks us to review notions that we may have touched upon in school books many years ago, when the Fibonacci sequence, to demonstrate that behind such beauty there is also mathematics, rigor, rules to be respected in order to have harmony.
How many flower petals are there
Going to observe not the beauty but the structure of the flowers, as well as of many plants, we are able to recognize some recurring geometries that we can translate into numbers by finding a logic in the wonder that leaves us speechless. Starting from the simplest cases we can count how many flower petals are. There most have 3, like lilies and irises, many are also those that have 5 like dog rose, and then gradually the petals increase, it becomes difficult to count them "by hand" but someone did it for us and noticed that the following figures are 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 or 89.
Does this row of numbers remind you of anything? It is the famous Fibonacci sequence which luckily for us we don't have to memorize because it can be built every time with an easy mechanism. Each number is equivalent to the sum of the two previous ones: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233 ...
If you are surprised to find so much mathematics in the nature that surrounds us, apparently so wild and creative, you will be even more surprised to know that this same sequence also appears when you go to study arrangement of individual flowers in the inflorescences composed of daisies, sunflowers, cauliflowers and broccoli. Although small, they are arranged in order along curved lines that rotate clockwise and counterclockwise and form a precise number of spirals which follow a logic linked to the Fibonacci sequence.
Number of flower petals: research
A diverse group of researchers he wondered what was the criterion by which the flowers were seen to multiply their petals. It includes the State University of Milan, the Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology of the CNR and the Lodi Padano Technology Park.
Those flowers that today we look at with admiration, rich in petals that make them so voluminous and generous, capable of making a bouquet of flowers a masterpiece, owe their abundance to genetic mutations very similar natural ones. This is not a simple observation that satisfies a curiosity but opens new horizons for those who deal with flowers, grow and sell them, because we know that those with more petals are more colorful and explosive, more appreciated by those who give them and those who receive them.
The research was carried out in the laboratory with many computer analyzes focused on the genomic DNA sequence of different plants such as the carnation which should have 5 petals but which thanks to particular mutations in a key gene in the development of the flower they stimulate the growth of many others. Such a result is even more useful if it applies to more types of flower. The researchers have in fact found that the mutation responsible for this character is found in other flowers such as those of the peach tree, roses, Petunias and so on. you can happily define a category of flowers, one "Petalosa" family, to which plants that have shown genetic mutations that lead to the multiplication of the number of petals belong.
How many double flower petals are there
Particular attention is paid to the number of flower petals when talking about double flowers. With this term we go to indicate all those varieties that show a corolla with more petals than normal and, at times, even a "Flower in flower". This feature was immediately studied as an anomaly but appreciated because it makes the flowers more pleasing to the eye in most cases. Double-flowered varieties of rose, camellia and carnation and it is not always so easy to obtain them because they rarely reproduce with the same characteristic and sometimes they are sterile because they lack the reproductive organs.
The first to talk about double flowers was Theophrastus in 286 BC followed by Pliny the Elder in the first century BC. and in the following years in various parts of the world they also began to grow flowers with these characteristics. At the height of the Renaissance there were many herbalists who dedicated themselves to cultivation of double-flowers in their gardens and still today they are the most requested and the most studied because the desire to multiply the number of flower petals with genetics remains.