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Emergence of complex patterns in a higher-dimensional phyllotactic system

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A hypothesis commonly known as Hofmeister’s rule states that primordia appearing at the apical ring of a plant shoot in periodic time steps are formed in the position where the most space is available with respect to the space occupation of already-formed primordia. A corresponding two-dimensional dynamical model has been extensively studied by Douady and Couder, and shown to generate a variety of observable phyllotactic patterns indeed. In this study, motivated by mathematical interest in a theoretical phyllotaxis-inspired system rather than by a concrete biological problem, we generalize this model to three dimensions and present the dynamics observed in simulations, thereby illustrating the range of complex structures that phyllotactic mechanisms can give rise to. The patterns feature unexpected additional properties compared to the two-dimensional case, such as periodicity and chaotic behavior of the divergence angle.
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Article 3528 [12p.], fig.,ref.
  • McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER, United Kingdom
  • Department of Mathematics, Technische Universitat Munchen, Boltzmannstrasse 3, 85748 Garching, Germany
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