Posts Tagged ‘fractals’


ignoramus:  [Latin] one who cannot or will not follow complexity

The image of a tree usually comes to mind whenever we think of a branch, yet this shape is not limited to trees or even the realm of botany where it is sometimes called a ramus.  Deer antlers, lung bronchi, veins and coral are some of the many things on the planet that are found in the shape of branches.

coral and seaweed

Many examples can be found in the woods and along the seashore in Nova Scotia.  Ferns, seaweed, tree limbs and roots all reveal the branch shape, which, in its simplest form, involves a division of one stem into two parts.  Each part can divide itself again, becoming more and more complex with each subsequent division.  Other words used to describe types of branches include sprig, spray, twig and bough.  In mathematics, branches are known as approximate fractals.

balsam fir

The branch is one of several interesting shapes that are found repeatedly in nature.  These shapes often form exquisite patterns and many are building blocks for larger things.  In previous weeks I’ve written about the spiral and the meander

In the Saturdays between now and mid-summer’s eve, I’ll explore a number of other shapes found in nature as a lead-up to a Summer Scavenger Hunt. Details of the hunt will be disclosed on June 20th, Midsummer’s Eve.  There will be prizes.

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