# The four-leaf clover and nature's code.

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? If so, you are really lucky, because the leaves of the clover plant almost always have three parts, or leaflets--very seldom four.

Clover is a very dark or bright green plant. It is nutritious for livestock, and honeybees love clover blossoms.

The small, young three-part clover leaf is often called a shamrock, which is a symbol of Ireland. Once in a great while, a clover leaf grows an extra leaflet--a four-leaf clover.

It is estimated that there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every one four-leaf clover. Because you must be very lucky to find one, a four-leaf clover is supposed to bring good luck.

But why do clover leaves have three leaflets [TEXT UNREADABLE IN ORIGINAL SOURCE] seldom four leaflets? I wonder ...

Do you like daisies? The one shown here has 21 petals. Other kinds of daisies have 34, 55, or 89 petals. Not 35, 56, or 90 petals. Why?

For some reason, nature loves a list of numbers discovered a thousand years ago that goes like this:

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 ...

and so on. This list of numbers is a SPECIAL CODE of nature, called the

FIBONACCI SEQUENCE.

Fibonacci is pronounced "Fib--o--nah--chee."

Look at the numbers in the sequence. Can you see anything about them that might be the secret to the code?

Here are some clues:

5 + 8 = 13

3 + 5 = 8

34 + 55 = 89

It is hard to see unless you are a whiz at math, but here is the secret: Any number in the sequence, added to the one after it, gives the number after that.

If you look at the clues again, you will see that this is true. It even works for the first number in the sequence: 0 plus the next number, 1, gives the third number, also 1. That is, 0 + 1 = 1.

Cool!

The numbers in that sequence show up in nature all the time, such as in the three-leaf clover and daisies with 34, 55, and 89 petals. Cut an apple in half. You will see five sections, each with a seed. Not four, but five.

Cut a banana in half, and you will see three sections. Not four, but three.

Other examples of FIBONACCI NUMBERS appear in the branching of trees, the arrangement of leaves on a stem, and the arrangement of a pine cone.

There are exceptions, and not everything in nature follows this special nature code, but most flowers do. Complete the chart below by finding the flowers listed in a flower shop, and count the petals. Then draw a picture of the flower. If you can't find the real flower, you can find great pictures of them in flower catalogues, library books on gardening, and on line. Have fun!

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Buttercup
# of petals --

Black-Eyed Susan
# of petals --

Delphinium
# of petals --

Daisy
# of petals --

Marigold
# of petals --

Another kind of Daisy
# of petals --
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