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Fractals in Nature - and for the Holidays as well!

By LariAnn Garner (LariAnnDecember 19, 2011
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You may be surprised to discover that among the amazing images one can produce using fractalic equations can be found ones with a holiday theme! Here's a fractalic holiday greeting for you . . .

Gardening picture (Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 24, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments. We hope you enjoy it as we count down to Christmas.)  

Something for the Season

As I've described and illustrated the fractal nature inherent in natural shapes, such as plants and mountains, I want to share some images that I've discovered while exploring fractals that, on the surface, don't look like natural shapes. The first is the thumbnail image at right, which shows a festive holiday ornament to hang from your tree, or that would make a great element to place at the very top of the tree! Of course, the fact that this fractal image has a suspiciously tree-like outline is no accident, either. In working with variations of the fractal equations, one can generate a host of different ornament types, such as globes and other holiday shapes, each with their own distinctive coloring and patterns.

fractal holiday wreathWell, a tree ornament seems a simple task for fractalic equations, but how about a holiday wreath, complete with an assortment of ornamental decorations, and one you'd be proud to display on your front door? You've got it, right there in the image to left. When I generated this one, I was startled at how festive it was and how amazingly complete it came out. I did not have to do any post processing to make it look the way it does. The fractalic equations computed by the Tiera-zon fractal generating program did all the work. As with the first image, tinkering around with the fractalic equations can yield a variety of images that are equally as attractive. Look at the shape closely and you'll see that it is reminiscent of a snowflake also, so with the right color combinations, you could generate a host of different snowflake shapes to hang as decorations on your tree or to place in other spots for a festive touch. You could call this "mathematics for the holidays"!

fractal christmas treesFinally, as the holiday draws to a close and night falls, what could bring out more of the holiday spirit than a group of decorated trees in your yard, brilliant against the night sky? No problem, just look at the image to right. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the music of the carolers wafting through the crisp cold night air, with stars sparkling in the sky and the lights on the trees glowing warmly. Another sip of that hot toddy and the thought of fresh-baked pumpkin pie waiting for you when you go back inside, and the joy of the day is complete.

Happy Holidays to You!

Image credit: LariAnn Garner


  About LariAnn Garner  
LariAnn GarnerLariAnn has been gardening and working with plants since her teenage years growing up in Maryland. Her intense interest in plants led her to college at the University of Florida, where she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Botany and Master of Agriculture in Plant Physiology. In the late 1970s she began hybridizing Alocasias, and that work has expanded to Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Caladiums as well. She lives in south Florida with her partner and son and is research director at Aroidia Research, her privately funded organization devoted to the study and breeding of new, hardier, and more interesting aroid plants.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Fractal Art hanbell 1 17 Dec 20, 2011 10:05 AM
Natural fractals ridgedew 1 21 Dec 19, 2011 7:10 AM
PBS / NOVA Program on Fractals trc65 1 32 Feb 17, 2009 4:33 PM
Sent to granddaughter who likes math... geraldine87 0 17 Dec 29, 2008 1:12 PM
Awesome Aunt_A 0 21 Dec 25, 2008 1:44 AM
fractals plantgeek88 1 42 Dec 24, 2008 6:34 PM
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