Document Detail

Fern leaves and cauliflower curds are not fractals.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22516819     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The popular demonstration of drawing a mature fern leaf as expressed by Barnsley's fractal method is mathematically and visually very attractive but anatomically and developmentally misleading, and thus has limited, if any, biological significance. The same is true for the fractal demonstration of the external features of cauliflower curds. Actual fern leaves and cauliflower curds have a very small number of anatomically variable and non-iterating bifurcations, which superficially look self-similar, but do not allow for scaling down of their structure as real fractals do. Moreover, fern leaves and cauliflower curds develop from the inside out through a process totally different from fractal drawing procedures. The above cases demonstrate a general problem of using mathematical tools to investigate or illustrate biological phenomena in an irrelevant manner. A realistic set of mathematical equations to describe fern leaf or cauliflower curd development is needed.
Simcha Lev-Yadun
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-04-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Plant signaling & behavior     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1559-2324     ISO Abbreviation:  Plant Signal Behav     Publication Date:  2012 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-09-17     Completed Date:  2013-01-16     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101291431     Medline TA:  Plant Signal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  533-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology & Environment, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Haifa, Oranim, Tivon, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Brassica / anatomy & histology*
Ferns / anatomy & histology*
Inflorescence / anatomy & histology*
Meristem / anatomy & histology*
Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology*

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