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Quantitative Biology


We introduce and study properties of phyllotactic and rhombic tilings on the cylin- der. These are discrete sets of points that generalize cylindrical lattices. Rhombic tilings appear as periodic orbits of a discrete dynamical system S that models plant pattern formation by stacking disks of equal radius on the cylinder. This system has the advantage of allowing several disks at the same level, and thus multi-jugate config- urations. We provide partial results toward proving that the attractor for S is entirely composed of rhombic tilings and is a strongly normally attracting branched manifold and conjecture that this attractor persists topologically in nearby systems. A key tool in understanding the geometry of tilings and the dynamics of S is the concept of pri- mordia front, which is a closed ring of tangent disks around the cylinder. We show how fronts determine the dynamics, including transitions of parastichy numbers, and might explain the Fibonacci number of petals often encountered in compositae.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

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Mathematics Commons



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