(I'm a computer scientist)

Tree branching is a fractal patterns in nature. I know stems typically branch in two at each level (self-similarity). I guess there are plants or other organisms that branch in 3 at each level (still self-similar).

But are there organisms where the stem first branches in 2, then at the next level branches in 3 or more? And maybe at the next (maybe the last) level branches even more, say in 7? It doesn't need to be the stem of a plant, it could be any part of any organism (fungi,...), e.g. the "flower part" of a plant, or a micro-organism.

I'm looking for places where just the branching factor changes, but otherwise little else. What I'm not looking for "branch by 2, branch by 2, branch by 2, and then the very final step is one level of fascicle where branching is 5". I would be fine it's "branch by 2, branch by 3, then fascicle where branching is >3".

I'm trying to find if there is something in nature (e.g. organism, geological, or physical structure) that follows this pattern found in a computer science algorithm, RecSplit, which I co-authored.

Like the following: it first branches in 3, and then branches in 8. The actual numbers don't matter to me, it might as well be branch in 2, then in 3, then in 5, or so.

Branch in 3, then branch in 8

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology Stackexchange! Could you directly link a picture of the branching you describe? I think i found it in the linked paper, but it'd be easier if you can directly link it. Additionally your questions title starts with tree's but the question focuses more on all plants - and I don't think tree's will show the pattern you are looking for so this might mislead people a bit (other plants or maybe fungi might?, not really my area of expertise). $\endgroup$ – Nicolai Dec 5 '19 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! I added a picture, and changed the title... I'm not sure what labels would be best. Feel free to edit my question! $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mueller Dec 5 '19 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascicle_(botany) $\endgroup$ – John Dec 5 '19 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @John for the link! Do you consider this an answer to the question, or is it just the correct term for my awkward / clumsy description "flower part of a plant"? $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mueller Dec 5 '19 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasMueller I don't know enough about plant development to turn it into a full answer, but I know what you were asking existed so I want to leave the link. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 5 '19 at 13:55

I can't say that your question is very clear to me, but perhaps something of interest to you would be a common type of inflorescence called an umbel. specifically, a compound umbel with associated umbellets.

Compound Umbel:

enter image description here

Source: Educational Technology Clearinghouse

Some examples can be found here

Again, since your post is not clear to me, I'll also include images of other complex inflorescences:

enter image description here

Source: texaswildbuds.com [the compound cyme might be of interest to you]

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! Yes, this is interesting, however it looks like the number of branches are the same on each level (8 for Compound Umbel). I'm looking for something that branches lesscloser to the root (e.g. branch by 2), and branches more near the "top". Chervil does look OK to me. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mueller Dec 10 '19 at 7:02

One case seems to be Chervil.

Another case Penicillin, specially figure G.

  • $\begingroup$ Technically Penicillin is a fungus not a plant - though I'm not sure if OP cares about the distinction for his question. $\endgroup$ – Nicolai Dec 9 '19 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ I'm the OP :-) Organism is fine. Actually, a geological structure or even physical would be fine as well - anything in nature. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mueller Dec 10 '19 at 6:54

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