Fabulous locking mechanisms from the Republic of Ragusa (also known as the Republic of Dubrovnik) at the Cabinet of Wonders. The republic, located in what is now southern Croatia, was at its height in the 15th-16th centuries.
All the branches of a tree at every stage of its height when put together are equal in thickness to the trunk [below them]. . . .
year when the boughs of a plant [or tree] have made an end of maturing
their growth, they will have made, when put together, a thickness equal
to that of the main stem; and at every stage of its ramification you
will find the thickness of the said main stem; as: i k, g h, e f, c d, a b, will always be equal to each other; unless the tree is pollardif so the rule does not hold good.
As Gilleland points out in his fascinating and meticulously documented article, recent studies show that Leonardo was pretty close to the mark. According to Tyree and Zimmerman (2002):
Although there is no evidence that Leonardo ever did any
measurements to confirm this remarkable observation, botanists are well
aware of the approximate correctness of this statement; measurements
were made around 1900 to investigate the significance of stem
dimensions in satisfying both mechanical and hydraulic demands....
Now here's your extra credit question: How can you tell the drawing above is by da Vinci?