Hexagonal Close Packing

Hexagonal close packing of the disk florets of an immature Sneezeweed blossom.

There are some imperfections, but generally the unopened disk florets comprising the head of this immature sneezeweed blossom are arranged so that each floret is surrounded by six other florets. This is an example of hexagonal close packing, and is probably the most dense arrangement of florets that can be achieved in this spherical flower head.

The photograph of the Bigelow’s sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii) was taken on an out and back run on the Pacific Crest Trail from Vincent Gap to Little Jimmy Spring during July 2007.

Related post: Bigelow’s Sneezeweed & Bee