L-systems are a mathematical formalism proposed by the biologist Aristid Lindenmayer in 1968 as a foundation for an axiomatic theory of biological development. More recently, L-systems have found several applications in computer graphics [Smith 1984; Prusinkiewicz and Hanan 1989; Prusinkiewicz and Lindenmayer 1991] . Two principal areas include generation of fractals and realistic modelling of plants.
Central to L-systems, is the notion of rewriting, where the basic idea is to define complex objects by successively replacing parts of a simple object using a set of rewriting rules or productions. The rewriting can be carried out recursively.

The most extensively studied and the best understood rewriting systems operate on character strings. Chomsky’s work on formal grammars (1957) spawned a wide interest in rewriting systems. Subsequently, a period of fascination with syntax, grammars and their application in computer science began, giving birth to the field of formal languages.

Aristid Lindenmayer’s work introduced a new type of string rewriting mechanism, subsequently termed L-systems. The essential difference between Chomsky grammars and L-systems lies in the method of applying productions. In Chomsky grammars productions are applied sequentially, whereas in L-systems they are applied in parallel, replacing simultaneously all letters in a given word. This difference reflects the biological motivation of L-systems. Productions are intended to capture cell divisions in multicellular organisms, where many division may occur at the same time.


Click in the canvas to start another drawing.

Run Full Screen