Generating Artificial Plant Morphologies for Function and Aesthetics through Evolving L-Systems

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Due to the replacement of natural flora and fauna with ur-
ban environments, a significant part of the earth’s organisms
that function as primary consumers have been dispelled. To
compensate for the reduction in the amount of primary con-
sumers, robotic systems that mimic plant-like organisms are
interesting to mimic for their potential functional and aes-
thetic value in urban environments. To investigate how to
utilize plant developmental strategies in order to engender ur-
ban artificial plants, we built a simple evolutionary model that
applies an L-System based grammar as an abstraction of plant
development. In the presented experiments, phytomorpholo-
gies (plant morphologies) are iteratively constructed using a
context sensitive L-System. The genomic representation of
the L-System is subject to mutation by an evolutionary al-
gorithm. These mutations thus alter the developmental rules
of these phytomorphologies. We compare the differences be-
tween the light absorption of evolving virtual plants that re-
main static during their life and virtual plants that possess
the possibility to move joints that link the separate parts of
the virtual plants. Our results show that our evolutionary al-
gorithm did not exploit potential beneficial joint actuation,
instead, mostly static structures evolved. The results of our
evolving L-System show that it is able to create various phy-
tomorphologies, albeit that the results are preliminary and
will be more thoroughly investigated in the future
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2016
Number of pages8
PublisherMIT Press
Publication date4 Jul 2016
Article number130
ISBN (Electronic)9780262339360
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016
EventArtificial Life - Cancun International Convention Center, Cancun, Mexico
Duration: 4 Jul 20168 Jul 2016
Conference number: 15


ConferenceArtificial Life
LocationCancun International Convention Center
Internet address


  • Plant-Inspired Robotics
  • Evolutionary Robotics
  • Simulated Evolution
  • L-Systems


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