Humble Umbels…

Cow Parsley seed head

I really love the form of the plants in the Umbelliferae family, I’m entranced by the upward sweeping negative curvature of the flowers, which resembles the inverted circles found in hyperbolic geometry.

Wild Carrot seed head

They are found in the British Isles as the native plants Wild Carrot (also known as Queen Anne’s Lace), Cow Parsley, Hogweed  and many others. Inhabiting the woodland edge, hedgerows and areas of rough grass in the inner city.

So next time you go for a walk, look out for the tell-tale upside down umbrella shapes of this very common plant.

hyperbolic crochet
hyperbolic crochet

I think I’m especially drawn to them due to their illustration of a type of geometry known as Hyperbolic, this natural form can be seen in anything from holly leaves, bracket fungi, corals, kale and sea slugs. It has even been modeled in crochet by Daina Taimiða.

You can also make a model of hyperbolic geometry by joining 7 sided heptagons to form a non-flat surface.

The fabric of space is thought to be hyperbolic expanding infinitely via the folded negative curvature of non-euclidean geometry.

(The Cow Parsley seed head image is available to download as a desktop calendar here)

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