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Patterns in autumn seed heads

It's autumn and my kids have been collecting for their school nature tables; hunting for different leaves, conkers and acorns. At home, the autumn's gatherings join the summer's shell collections.


Autumn collections

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. I enjoy walking through the coloured leaves in the late afternoon sunshine, and the seed heads at this time of year are my favourite too.

Looking at the patterns on the poppy seed pods and faded sunflower heads gets me up close to nature, and pointing out the wonderful patterns to those around me. I like to look for these shapes and patterns. It's something my kids know that I'm always looking for and they often join in, calling out from behind a tree when they have found something to gaze at.


Circles and triangles

It's not just faded flowers that hold these patterns, but seeds from trees too: there are shapes just waiting to be spotted. Shape hunting in nature has been our pastime. 

The dusty patch on top of the conker's chestnut colouring globe match the empty acorn cup, void of its hefty seed. They both present such beautiful circles, so pleasing to the eye. 


It's not just circles. Beechnuts (see bottom image) found under Beech trees have a perfect triangle base that shapes into a pyramid. This natural triangle can be seen in other flower seed pods too. 



The five point star is present at the end of the summer. The seed pods from a eucalyptus tree release their lids when the seeds ripen and present a perfect pentagram star hiding the seeds inside. This is the same star that runs through an apple core.  This star is present in many places where flowers have been. 

These shapes in nature are there for us all to see, it's just a matter of observation.

Get down and really look. Take a magnifying glass on your walks if you want; sometimes a simple tool is all that's needed to get the kids really looking. We really can train the eye to see the underlying patterns present in nature.

Any time is good for this shape hunting, but autumn is special: the flowers and trees give way to patterns of seed formations, and the numbers and shapes in nature are easier to spot.

Lisa Lillywhite - The Smart Happy Project

This is an extract from a blog post about numbers in nature's seed heads on thesmarthappyproject.com