Dogwood Time

Straight out from my bedroom window, in our dogwood tree, a little robin sang, “Winter’s over. We survived another one!”

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Did you know that the Pacific dogwood is the provincial flower for the province of British Columbia? Its flowers have four to six petals. That in itself is unusual, as probably the most common number of petals for flowers is five.

While researching the number of petals on a dogwood, I came across the term “Fibonacci Numbers.” The number of petals on most flowers is one of the Fibonacci numbers, but the dogwood only sometimes complies. The Fibonacci number sequence is named for Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, for introducing the concept of these numbers to the western world in the early 1200s.

The Fibonacci sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 …

Can you guess what the next number is going to be?

I was amazed at how it works. The next number is always the sum of the previous two.

I think someone used this sequence to figure out the rate at which rabbits breed. I think, too, that Fibonacci must have done his research in my backyard.

Math and nature are so connected, it never ceases to amaze me.

35 thoughts on “Dogwood Time

    • Yes, they are. When we lived farther north many years ago, there were no dogwoods (too cold), so seeing them here I feel very lucky. That robin just happened to land while I was about to take the picture. You can see from his ruffled head that he’s a little bit nervous of me being so close.

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  1. So nice of that Robin to drop by and announce the coming of spring. Great photo! It’s fascinating where the Fibonacci numbers show up. I know pineapples and sunflowers are a couple more. I did not know about dogwood petals. 🙂

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    • There is a lot more information on the Internet page where I found out about this number sequence and the spiral patterns on pineapples and many other plants were mentioned, but it was getting a bit complicated. Just fascinating to know this math exists in the plant world.

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  2. Thanks for the math lesson. I never knew what Fibonacci numbers were, nor have I ever counted Dogwood petals. I will next time I see a blooming dogwood.
    Ooops. The quilt I made with dogwoods have some 5-petal flowers. Will anyone notice?

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    • I don’t remember seeing any dogwoods in the Charlottes – not sure they grow there – so you wouldn’t have seen them. But here in the southern part of BC they are everywhere. We planted this one just out from our bedroom window and it’s beautiful to look at in the spring. Nice of that robin to come sit in it and pose for my camera.

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      • No, I´ve never seen those beautiful flowers on a tree on the Charlottes. I would love to have one of those in my garden here. Maybe they would grow here, I have to look around at the garden centres.

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    • I was amazed at how the number of petals matched this number sequence. Apparently the number sequence concept had been around for a long time in Asia before Fibonacci brought it to the attention of Europeans.

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  3. I have a gorgeous dogwood in the greenbelt behind my home. It’s about 30 feet tall and beautiful. My neighbour and I share this little piece of nature. There is no watering or fertilizing Washington rains take care of everything. So happy to see the dear robins … finally.

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  4. Oh, oh, how I love your photo with the robin in amongst the dogwood flowers! This is absolutely breath-taking! I had a busy week so relaxed with my grandson and oldest daughter last night and tried not to think of all the posts I was “missing!”
    Dogwoods have a special religious poem attached to them. My aunt and uncle are always trying to “Save me” through leaflets in the mail. I honestly feel I have a very close relationship with God, Anneli. Don’t know why they are so adament (sp?) and it is like the old saying, “Preaching to the choir!” 🙂
    Hugs to you and hope you have a lovely weekend. I have a layered sweater set on with black jeans and a winter jacket on at the library! Lol 😀

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      • Anneli, I also meant to tell you that I didn’t know a thing about the numbers or sequences of things and you taught me something quite interesting. I have seen a lot of plants like trilliums which have only 3 or 5 petals, also Spring Beauties have only five. I am thinking pansies and violets may only be five, too. I am rambling on about flowers. Wish I could hear your side of the conversation! Lol. I do pause to listen. . . 🙂
        The Bible verse attached to the flyer has something about the way the spikes through Jesus’ hands were, that the dogwood blossoms have little brown points like “spikes” just in case you were wondering like I may have, before I read it, “Why Dogwood blooms?” I may have to look closer at the actual blooms. We have pink edged dogwoods, white ones and totally rose colored ones! My oldest calls the ros- colored ones, inaccurately, but I won’t correct her, “Japanese dogwoods!” 🙂

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        • There are many kinds of dogwood trees and shrubs. They’re all beautiful. One thing I like about them is that the petals seem to be harder than those of most other flowers – almost waxy. The number sequence thing – I had heard of it a long time ago but had completely forgotten about it. I came across it as I was doing a search on numbers of petals on flowers. Of course the sequence applies to many other things too.

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  5. Dogwoods are so beautiful! We had them at the house I grew up in, and your picture brings back a lot of happy memories for me. Our magnolia tree is in bloom right now – I should go take photos of it while I’m thinking of it.

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  6. You are so right about the connection between math and nature. I don’t know where (as kids) we get the idea that math was made up by mean people. The robin and dogwood is just gorgeous. Stunning.

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