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Permaculture Patterns: The Honey Comb

Douglas Crouch
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Developing our pattern sense is a much needed step forward for human consciousness. Here to help is a patterns article release from my open source TreeYo EDU resource. The honeycomb is a delightful pattern in nature to witness and is used by humans, bees, pollen, and mushrooms to name a few.


Pattern Philosophy

The golden rich hues infused with an intensely rich smell is matched only by the delights of eating stored sunlight from bees; in other words honey. Nutritious and medicinal, the work of the bees is a true gift of humanity and should be utilized as a precious resource rather that a simple supermarket commodity. Their work with patterns is inspirational, from how they build the hive to how they structure themselves. Both are to learn from and the honey harvest and capture of swarms is a rewarding process.

Pattern Understanding through Natural Usage

The honeycomb, a pattern associated mostly with structure that utilizes repeating hexagons, facilitates conservation of materials and energy. The most obvious place in nature is of course the honeycomb from bees but there are other places in nature which shows this form. After some research when first putting together this slideshow some years ago that I present in our PDC’s, I did find a couple of other examples in the spherical composition. One is a unique mushroom that explodes after springing forth with this shape extruded in 3D. To pack efficiently as much reproductive capability the mushroom utilizes this shape and then when conditions are set the shell cracks and out comes the “seed” of the mushroom. Also the pollen seen below I believe is a pine and takes takes this similar form of using the honey comb in a spherical way. Again tied to reproduction with the least effort for the greatest effect, in the bottom left you can see a highly zoomed digital image of the pollen sitting on a fabric.
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