Monday, June 19, 2017

June iSite: Purple Cone Flower

Walking the prairie yesterday, I came across a purple echinacae - or coneflower. This plant, while native to Illinois, is not that common in native habitats. In fact, most of the plants that grow in the wild are escaped cultivars. But do they ever stand out! Their delicate pink leaves are topped with a collection of small spines, which are packed closely in the Fibonacci spiral formation, allowing for radiating growth.

I started to wonder how this radiating growth pattern could be useful for us: could the seating arrangement in a restaurant, theater in the round, or other establishment fit more people into a small space? Could it grow and contract as needed? Would this pattern be relevant to temporary disaster shelter camps as well?

There are so many questions we can ask nature. Join us this month as we explore nature's forms - and get outside with us this summer!

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