Journal Article

Sympodial Construction of Fibonacci-type Leaf Rosettes in <i>Pinguicula moranensis</i> (Lentibulariaceae)

Valentin Grob, Evelin Pfeifer and Rolf Rutishauser

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 100, issue 4, pages 857-863
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Sympodial Construction of Fibonacci-type Leaf Rosettes in Pinguicula moranensis (Lentibulariaceae)

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

The leaf rosettes of the carnivorous Pinguicula moranensis follow a spiral phyllotaxis approaching a Fibonacci pattern while the stalked flowers arise from extra-axillary sites between the leaves. The organization of this rosette has been discussed by various authors, with various results. The aim of the present study was to clarify the development of the flowering rosettes of this species.


The formation of the rosettes is shown with the aid of scanning electron microscopy.

Key Results and Conclusions

The scanning electron micrographs show that each flower terminates an article (sympodial unit). The leaves of consecutive articles of such sympodially constructed rosettes are arranged along a spiral Fibonacci pattern (with divergence angles around 137°). This results from homodromy of leaf initiation in consecutive articles with the first leaf (prophyll) of a new article inserted in an obliquely transverse position next to the floral scape that terminates the former article. Sympodial construction of flowering shoots and leaf rosettes is also known from Aloe, Gunnera and Philodendron. As a by-product of this study, the unidirectional development of the Pinguicula flower is confirmed and discussed.

Keywords: Article; Fibonacci; flower development; homodromy; leaf initiation; Lentibulariaceae; phyllotaxis; Pinguicula moranensis; sympodial unit

Journal Article.  3991 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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