I stumbled onto the fact that the Fibonacci sequence of numbers occurs frequently in nature when I embarked on making Lobelia. I had been intrigued by the spiraling symmetry of a photo of giant Lobelia I saw on the National Geographic and decided website. The photo was a shot of a giant lobelia taken straight down on it. I loved the symmetry and the spirals in the plant. After looking at it for quite a while, I decided that I had to do a piece based on the plant. Closer inspection revealed to me that it had 13 spirals of leaves in one direction and 21 in the other. I was puzzled about these numbers for a while until my wife suggested they be an example of the Fibonacci series. I knew instantly that she was right, and began my exploration of how often this series of numbers occurs in nature. Pinecones, pineapples, sunflowers, many flowers and seashells are all examples of the expression of this series of numbers occurring in nature.
The Fibonacci series is a series of numbers that starts with one, and the next number in the series is the sum of the previous two as in 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34.... The higher up in the sequence, the closer two consecutive numbers of the sequence divided by each other will approach the golden ratio (approximately 1 : 1.618). The series was named for a well known Italian mathematician that described it about 1200 AD, although it was known to Indian mathematicians as early as the 6th century.
I find it fascinating that the series shows up so frequently and beautifully in nature. I love the symmetry that results from the combination of 2 or 3 spirals of adjacent numbers of the sequence, usually in a spiral pattern. That it shows up in such diverse variety of plants makes it even more intriguing.