Online Friday Seminar – To understand a daisy: Phyllotaxis of flower heads

This week’s Friday Seminar speaker is Professor Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz from the University of Calgary.

The Friday Seminar series will be run on a virtual platform for the foreseeable future.

Each seminar will be pre-recorded and available to view for five days, followed by a live Q&A session.

Email to request access to the recording.


Phyllotaxis – the distribution of plant organs such as leaves and flowers on their supporting axes – is a key attribute of plant architecture.

Phyllotactic patterns have attracted multidisciplinary interest for centuries, yet their most iconic example, the arrangement of flowers in the heads of the daisy family of plants, has not been fully explained.

Based on experimental data integrating scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, and X-ray micro-computed tomography, we have constructed computational and mathematical models of developing Gerbera hybrida heads that plausibly explain their phyllotaxis.

Our results reveal the essential contribution of the head growth and the dynamics of the morphogenetic zone to the self-organization of bract and flower primordia, and cast the standard model of phyllotaxis as a special case. Our data also confirm that vasculature does not play a major role.

Professor Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz biography

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Calgary, Canada.

He is a pioneer of computational modelling, simulation and visualisation of plant development. His current research is focused on computational models of development that link molecular-level processes to macroscopic plant forms.

Professor Prusinkiewicz is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery SIGGRAPH Achievement Award and the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award.

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