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Patterns in Beech Leaves

Looking up from a forest trail at a nearby nature center, I saw the leaves of a beech tree backlit by the afternoon sun. I picked off a few of the interesting ones and held them by hand so as to take some closeups. I find the patterns interesting in the same way ink blots are interesting.

What do you see in these abstract images?

Flames? | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA | September 5, 2010

Mandelbrot Fractal Set?

Stained glass window?

Leaf within a leaf?

What do you see?

Can anyone explain what’s going on here? Is this how leaves start to turn in the fall? A disease of some sort?

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