Artificial Evolution of Plant Forms

Cam MacKenzie and Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz


The purpose of this paper is to outline a technique for simulating the evolution of plants. The problem is addressed using genetic algorithms (GA's) [3, 5] operating on L-systems [12], with fractal dimension of the resulting structures serving as the fitness criterion. In physical terms, fractal dimension correlates with the "bushiness" or "fullness" of a plant. A plant with low fractal dimension (close to one) may have insufficient surface area to capture ample amounts of light. On the other hand, a plant with high fractal dimension (close to two in the case of planar structures) may be excessively bushy, causing substantial self-shading. Ultimately, plants which are bushy to the extent that they shade other plants but not themselves should be given evolutionary preference.


Cam MacKenzie and Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz. Artificial Evolution of Plant Forms. In Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Western Computer Graphics Symposium. March 28 - 30, 1993.

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