45 Plants Showing Off Mother Nature’s Perfect Sense Of Symmetry And Geometry
From animals to plants, the natural world is a near boundless source of fascinating and marvelous specimens. Because of this, it should be no wonder why nature and its thousands of creations have long since been a source of creative inspiration for all manner of artists. From our earliest creations and drawings back in the Stone Age to the more complex pieces made in the modern era, the influence of nature on art, science, and even mathematics is hard to ignore. Journey with us as we explore some of these marvelous plants and products of nature that form in dozens of dazzling, geometrical, and symmetrical ways. You are guaranteed to see nature in a more respectful light after seeing these images.
Starting things off, we have the Aloe polyhylla, commonly known by names such as the spiral aloe or the many-leaved aloe. This succulent is found in only one place in the world in the Kingdom of Lesotho, specifically within the Drakensberg mountains.
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a sovereign state, that is surrounded by the neighboring country of South Africa. It is called lekhala kharetsa in the country’s national language, Sesotho. The aloe plant tends to die if removed from the region.
This stunning flower is a particular breed of Camellia japonica called the Pink Perfection. This variant is known for its light pink coloration and multiple ringed petal arrangement. The whole look makes it look like cotton candy, don’t you think?
Camellia is native to and predominantly found in southern and east Asia, China, South Korea, and, of course, Japan, where the name “japonica” comes from. The flower is very popular in much of Asia due to its medicinal applications, such as the anti-inflammatory compounds in the leaves.
Osteospermum is the technical name for the genus of flowers also known by the name African Daisy. Also called daisybushes, they come in a variety of colors and petal shapes. As you could guess by the name, these flowers are found across Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
The perfect shape and spacing of the petals on this African daisy are almost hypnotizing! Although the petal color changes, the deep violet center dotted with yellow stamen along the edge is common across all the species of this genus.
Nowadays, it seems that cacti are most commonly known as the perfect plants for those who have historically killed all the other greenery in their home. They can go weeks without water, and if it dies, it needs to be deliberate.
But it’s not only the cactus’ hardiness that makes it a popular plant. Nope, cacti are also just popular because of the hundreds of spiraled and prickly shapes and colors that they come in. This picture is a testament to their variety.
Crassula Green Pagoda
This stunning-looking thing is actually a real plant, not some work of art that some craftsmen spent months shaping and bringing to life. This is a species of Crassula known as the crassula green pagoda, called so for its shape.
Of course, the most mesmerizing thing about this plant is the center that almost looks like an eye! This may just be a case of pareidolia, but that doesn’t stop it from looking any less strange. This succulent is certainly an interesting plant to have in one’s home.
A Natural Fibonacci Spiral
This rain-covered dandelion is equally beautiful and fascinating. Getting lost in its coil, it’s a great example of a natural Fibonacci spiral. If you don’t know, the Fibonacci spiral and sequence are two mathematical concepts, both named after Leonardo of Pisa, later known as Fibonacci.
In layman’s terms, Fibonacci spirals are derived from the aforementioned number, which is a sequence with each number being the sum of the two previous numbers. What’s most fascinating about the Fibonacci sequence and golden spirals is their prevalence in nature!
Victoria Amazonica Lily Pad
It might not exactly look like your ordinary lily pad, but that is because it is laying upside down. This giant leaf comes from the Victoria amazonica; it is a 3 m in diameter wide pad commonly found around the Amazon River basin.
The flower was named after Queen Victoria of Britain following its discovery by British explorers and botanists in October of 1837. The Lily can supposedly support the weight of two adults and is depicted on the coat of arms of Guyana.
Cabbage is a vegetable that people either enjoy or avoid. Regardless, this humble and giant leafy ball has been a source of food and sustenance for hundreds of cultures over hundreds of years across much of Europe. Although it is now used in dishes worldwide.
What is particularly interesting about cabbage though, is the enchanting and artistic designs that you can see after cutting into it. Not only is it amazing that it can look like this, but it again reminds us of the Fibonacci sequence.
Right, we don’t really know what went on here or, for that matter, why the leaf is very distinctly two different colors. A leaf having more than one color is nothing weird, but different colors perfectly split down the middle is rare and bizarre.
It would not be surprising if it turned out that this leaf was a fake or that someone just painted over it. But according to the person who shared the picture, this leaf belongs to a Philodendron, a genus of common and popular house plants.
Norfolk Island Pine
This amazing little plant not only invokes a Christmas-y feeling but how many other plants can you think of that actually look like they are made of tiny trees! Each stem mimics vibrant green trees all circling around the same point.
This is most likely an Araucaria heterophylla, also known as the Norfolk Island Pine, a conifer species that is native only to Australia’s Norfolk Island. The pine reaches heights of 65 cm and its branched or stem segments will always form perfect pentagons.
Zucchini, baby marrow, or courgette. Whatever name you know them by, they sure are one of the more popular veggies out there, particularly with vegetarians, vegans, or the weight conscious. That said, we don’t know many look like this inside.
Whilst slicing up zucchini for a meal, this person was surprised to see that each sliced zucchini disc was decorated with an elaborate cross-like design. We don’t know if this is true for all zucchini, but this one certainly is cool!
This is the Agave victoriae-reginae, a flowering perennial and member of the succulent species that is native to parts of Mexico. The flower’s most distinguishing features are the white streaks that decorate their fanning leaves, which makes them a popular decoration.
The leaves of this plant tend to expand outward around its center, often creating dazzling geometric layers, as seen with this one. The Agave is another example of a plant that features an element of the Fibonacci sequence within its design.
This isn’t some piece of rubbish lying around. Nope, this is a type of fungus called the Ileodictyon cibarium, more commonly known as the white basket fungus. This type of fungus is commonly found in New Zealand and South Africa.
On that note, the Māori people apparently have up to 35 other names to refer to this creepy organism. Our favorite translates to “ghost droppings.” It is maddening to think that something this odd and intricate can just pop up in the forest, or even on someone’s lawn!
This magical-looking flower is called the Datura stramonium, also known by the names devil’s snare/trumpet, thorn apple, and jimsonweed, is a member of the nightshade family. It is believed the flower originated in Central America. You may have actually seen this flower, but perhaps not like this:
Being a nightshade, this flower is incredibly toxic and can cause a list of severe side effects, from hallucinations to increased heart rates and delirium, to name a few. This particular devil’s snare appears to be in the blooming stage, which is why it looks more spiral than the traditional flower.
This fascinating flower is known as a dahlia, a genus of flowers native to large parts of Central America and Mexico. In fact, it’s the national flower of Mexico! The dahlia is actually related to a handful of other iconic flowers you might recognize, such as chrysanthemums and sunflowers.
The main attraction of the dahlia often lies in the beautiful patterns and shapes of its petals as well as its vibrant coloration. The petals of this dahlia are a lovely light peachy color, but not all dahlias are the same.
Take this other type of dahlia for example, which has a deep burgundy coloration instead of the lighter peachy color of the flower above. These perennials are incredibly diverse, with possibly up to 40 species as well as multiple hybrid strains!
As with most flowering plants, the differences in coloration are most likely due to the acidity and alkalinity of the soil. But don’t let the word “acidity” fool you. These tubers were once food to the Aztec people, before the Spanish Conquest.
Passiflora incarnata, more commonly called a passionflower or maypop, is a perennial plant native to the south-eastern part of the United States. They have been cultivated for a number of decades for their beauty and for the harvesting of their fruit.
It is not only the smell and taste of the plant that makes it so incredible, as its form and color are also worth appreciating! The spiraling and warped-looking feelers of the plant create an almost alien-like impression of the flower.
What we have here is a round pincushion type of cactus, that is most likely related to the barrel cactus. While the cactus might not always be regarded as a beautiful plant, that is just a matter of opinion. We think they’re gorgeous!
All it takes is a change of perspective and seeing things from a different angle. From this viewpoint, the thorny and prickly surface of the cactus transforms into something reminiscent of a constellation of lights and stars dazzling around the center.
Bird of Paradise
This next plant bears the rather deceiving, if not also attention-grabbing, name: bird of paradise. The flower is officially called the Strelitzia, a genus of perennial plants that are native and commonly found in South Africa. You’ve probably seen their distinctive flowers, but here we’re looking at the leaves.
The Strelitzia gets its name “bird of paradise” from the pareidolic appearance of a bird landing atop a flower. But upon closer inspection, the seemingly plain green stalk is a thing of beauty in itself, covered with tiny shapes and lines as seen in this picture.
This delicate and calming little flower is called a Plumeria, an aromatic flower commonly found from Mexico to the Caribbean to Brazil. This flower is also often confused with the jasmine flower, which has a similar look except with a weaker yellow.
This photo captures the amazing process of this plumeria as it blooms, transforming it from a tightly wound yellow cluster to the open and free form you see on the left. The Plumeria, also called frangipani, are just as beautiful at night, with their fragrance spreading out to attract sphinx moths.
While at first, this plant might not look overly intriguing, what is really remarkable about this plant, is how symmetrical it is. Taking some time to look over the plant you can see how perfectly equal each diverging branch is with its twin.
The Coleus genus is comprised of herbs or shrubs that can be both annual and perennial. Native to large parts of Afro-Eurasia, some species of Coleus are popular for their decorative appeal, and others are even grown as food crops.
Tulips are arguably one of the world’s most beautiful and sought-after flowers, so much so that caused what is now called “tulip mania.” Tulip mania refers to a period of frantic and obsessive buying of tulips during the Dutch Golden Age.
During the Dutch Golden Age (1588-1672) the tulip shot up in popularity when the Dutch introduced them to Europe. The demand was so high that the price of tulips kept increasing at an insane rate selling for thousands of dollars in today’s currency.
This amazing photo is an image of the bottom end of a previously potted bound plant. The series of intricate and eye-catching rope-like lines crisscrossing along it is actually the root system of the plant that grew and branched out to what you see below.
This extensive root system is, in essence, the heart of the plant. Without it, the plant would not be able to absorb water or minerals, nor would it be able to store all of these vital resources needed to keep the plant alive.
This little interesting and spherical flower is a Hoya, also commonly known as a wax flower or a porcelain flower. The wax flower is part of a family of plants called Apocynaceae, disturbingly known in English as dogbane due to their high toxicity.
The Hoya is quite interesting for a few reasons. The first is that its petals have a slippery and waxy-like texture, hence their common name. Their smell, however, is a toss-up between a lovely floral scent or something akin to cat urine. Lastly, they can take a long time (years even) to bloom.
Asiatic Lily Plant
This plant, rather surprisingly, is the still juvenile form of the Asiatic lily and not some kind of succulent, even though it does appear more like a cactus than it does a lily. That said, it is quite rare to find if that’s true.
Whatever this plant might be, it certainly is quite stunning. Its multi-layered physique of solid green arms sticking out like dozens of tongues jutting out from a seemingly endless center. Arms that grow smaller and smaller as they circled round to the center.
This giant orange ball of what seems to be dozens of mashed petals with dozens of cotton bubs sticking out of it is a flower of the burflower-tree or Leichhardt pine. It is a species of evergreen native to South and Southeast Asia.
It’s no surprise where the name “burflower” comes from. The flower resembles a bur, the seedy part of a variety of plants, known for hooking onto the skin and clothes of unaware hikers. Fortunately, this flower is innocent and even has importance in Indian mythology and religions.
A Giant Camellia
While we have already seen a marvelous Camellia, we can’t get enough of these gorgeous flowers. Earlier we had the Camellia japonica, but this giant is the Camellia japonica Rachele Odero, a hybrid originally created in 19th century Genoa, Italy.
There is just something so captivating about this Camellia; looking at it, we can’t help but be mesmerized and sucked into its perfectly balanced petals. We don’t know if it is the vibrant pink of the petals or the remarkable ripple-like pattern of the petals as they cascade outwards, but we’re entranced nonetheless.
Here we have another cactus of the Crassula genus, like the Crassula green pagoda we saw earlier. Originally a hybrid of Crassula pyramidalis and Crassula perfoliata var. minor. this particular cactus is known as the Crassula Buddha’s temple due to its resemblance to a Chinese Buddhist temple.
Speaking of their appearance, the longer you look at the cactus the more impressed and intrigued you are by its continuous pattern of overlapping curved arrows that decorate the whole arm of the cactus. Is it just us, or does it look like an alien plant?
No, this is not a Photoshopped image. This picture is a real purple cauliflower. Purple cauliflower gets its distinctive coloration from the antioxidant anthocyanin, the same chemical found in red wine and red cabbage. Unlike most bright colors in nature, this one is entirely harmless.
Cauliflower is another plant that features a Fibonacci design, with each part of the floret repeating and mirroring its appearance in smaller and smaller degrees. While is certainly stunning to look at, purple just doesn’t seem like an appetizing color for food.
The gloriosa lily is a dazzling flower from the tropical part of southern Africa and Asia and is known by other names such as fire lily, glory lily, and flame lily. Its bright coloration isn’t just for looks, it’s also a warning!
Fire lilies are high in colchicine, a chemical compound that can be extremely dangerous if ingested, with the leaves themselves able to cause skin irritations for some people. But, as with most “toxic” plants, the chemicals have been harvested for medicinal use. In this case, colchicine is used in medicines to treat gout.
Beauty in Winter
When the sun dips lower and the cold winds and drafts signal the approach of winter; its presence is further emphasized by the gradual withering and death of all but the hardiest of plants and flowers. All but this one apparently.
While we do not know what kind of flower this is, what we do know is that its colors, from petal to center, are nothing but enchanting to gaze at. Who would have thought that purple and orange could match so well?
This plant is a species of Kalanchoe, most likely the Kalanchoe daigremontiana, a succulent native to the African island of Madagascar. Although it doesn’t have the vibrant colors of some of the other plants we’ve seen, this green beauty is still fascinating.
Also known as the alligator plant or mother of thousands, the K. daigremontiana is actually toxic. Appropriately, the steroid daigremontianin can be isolated from this plant. There is no part of the succulent that is safe, as the whole plant contains this dangerous chemical.
Night Sky Petunia
Petunias are a beautiful species of flower that originate from South America and are a popular flowering choice for many gardens due to their aesthetics and range of colors. The petunia also holds spiritual importance for Mayan and Incan cultures.
For the Mayans and Incans, it was believed that the petunia’s scent would protect against evil spirits and monsters. This particular petunia is a cultivar that is known as a starry night/night sky petunia for reasons that should be abundantly clear.
This stunning flower would definitely give the sunflower a run for its money if there were a botanical competition of sun-facing plants. This flower is called a Gazania and is native to Southern Africa. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also used as groundcover for drought-prone areas.
You could call the Gazania a “cousin” of daisies and sunflowers, as they are all part of the same family, Asteraceae. The gazania is famous for its shades of striking yellows and oranges and can often be seen during summer and in drier areas.
Speaking of sunflowers, you have to take a closer look at this! Here we have a close-up of the center of a sunflower, which might not sound all that exciting at first until you see the amount of detail it has.
The entire surface of the sunflower’s center looks like it is covered with miniature flower heads that are just about to bloom. This is not an illusion as that is exactly what a sunflower is: a giant dish full of tiny sunflowers.
We have another Crassula cactus for you. Introducing the Crassula capitella, a red end tinted cactus that is also known by the names red pagoda, red flames, and campfire plant. This Crassula is native to large parts of Southern Africa.
Such a close-up of this crassula really makes you wonder where one arm starts and the other ends. While it might be a bit disorienting to look at, this close-up shot really does allow you to appreciate the plant’s stunning patterns.
Behold the captivating and enchanting beauty of the Platycodon grandiflorus, a name taken from ancient Greek which meant wide bell. In English, the flower is simply known as a balloon flower or a Chinese bellflower, as it comes from East Asia.
The balloon flower is commonly found in Japan, China, Korea, and the Russian Far East. This little balloon flower actually almost looks like a piece of origami, thanks to the folded petals in its center, a feature that is sadly not common.
Crown of thorns
These intriguing-looking square-like red petals are called Euphorbia milii, otherwise known as crown of thorns, Christ thorn, or Christ plant. These other, non-scientific, names derive from their thorns and red petals which, for some symbolized the thorned crown of Jesus.
What is truly amazing about this picture is the way in which all the petals are almost perfectly arranged and evenly divided into rows and columns of 4 without any human intervention! Really, what are the chances of that happening!
We would not blame anyone, who at first might have believed this thing to be a kind of polished or smoothed rock, as it is quite deceiving. What we have here is, in fact, a species of dwarf succulent known as Lapidaria margaretae.
The Lapidaria, affectionately known as the Karoo rose, is native to the northern parts of South Africa that meet the southernmost parts of Namibia in Southern Africa. It is the only species of its kind but is part of the Aizoaceae family which contains over 1,500 species.
Nature is Full of Surprises
We don’t know for certain what plant this is, but we just had to show you. If you momentarily forgot what this article was about, you might at first think you were looking at one of these expertly plated gourmet dishes. That is until you realized that this is an actual plant!
Our guess is that this is part of the Zingiber genus, native to Southeast Asia. Regardless, we’re in love with its design. This plant switches from looking like a rose to a beehive to a work of geometrical brilliance! If nothing else, this plant is further proof that nature is the master architect.
Astrophytum is another genus of cacti from North America that has a diverse range of types and appearances. Many have often ascribed the appearance of Astrophytum as looking rocklike. But the original namers of the plant thought otherwise, with the word “astrophytum” derived from the Greek words star and plant.
But to us, this cactus looks like a mix of mossy rocks that just so happen to be shaped into star-like formations. Most Astrophytum often sprout a single yellow flower with a red center that opens up when the sun is out.
Georgian Red Corn
When you think of corn, your mind will most likely immediately gravitate towards the long yellow stalks covered with green leaves. Well, they aren’t the only type of corn you get. This next picture is not Photoshopped and is a real vegetable.
Introducing a rather shiny cob of red corn from Georgia in the USA, colloquially referred to as Jimmy red corn. There is just something about these shiny red kernels that makes them so satisfying to look at. It almost reminds us of pomegranate seeds glued onto a corn cob.
Hebe Silver Dollar
We don’t know about you, but the first time we saw this picture we honestly thought it was a painting of a field of sea coral and weeds. Surprisingly, it is neither, what we have is a cluster of Hebe Silver Dollars.
The Hebe originates in a rather varied range of locations from South America to New Zealand and the island of Rapa in French Polynesia. Hebes are named after the Greek Goddess, Hebe goddess of youth, and are predominantly grown as ornamental plants.
The Pinguicula ehlersiae is a carnivorous plant and hybrid strain of the Pinguicula genus, commonly known as butterworts, and part of the Lentibulariaceae family (80 different species!). They operate in a similar manner to a more famous carnivorous plant, Venus flytraps.
The Pinguicula lures insects and bugs with provocative scents, insects that become trapped to the plant due to its sticky leaves, where they are eaten and digested. The Pinguicula ehlersiae deserves mention due to its interesting geometrically, asymmetrical, and star-like patterned leaves.
As we bring things to a close, let us cast out eyes on the mesmerizing beauty of one of the most intriguing members of the Crassulaceae family, the Sempervivum. This succulent plant is also known as houseleeks or liveforever, the latter of which is the reason for its scientific name.
Its name, liveforever, comes from the fact that this succulent is not only extremely resilient, able to grow in harsh conditions but that it keeps leaves even during winter. The Sempervivum also has some truly stunning and vividly arranged petals and bulbs.