Pitcher Plant Prey

Jan 17, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

 

When did plants become carnivorous?

The pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that traps its prey. The leaves form a deep cavity in which a liquid is at the bottom, like a pitcher of water. To catch bugs, sweet nectar is needed. Instead of mixing the sweet nectar with the water at the bottom of the pitcher, this plant drips it down the outside of the container to lure its prey.
 
An unsuspecting ant walks up the plant, slurping the sweet nectar. The ant arrives at the top of the pitcher, but it does not stop because the plant has nectar along the inside rim. As it enjoys the sweet nectar under the rim, it moves farther into the plant until it arrives where the walls of the container are very slippery. Ants that can even walk upside down on a ceiling are helpless here. It is just too slippery and so it slides down until its feet catch on the stiff hairs of the plant. These hairs are pointed downward toward the pool, so as the ant struggles to hold on, he steps closer and closer to the pool. These hairs signal the plant to get ready for dinner. Digestive juices start flowing. Finally, the ant loses the battle and falls into the pool. The digestive juices dissolves the ant, allowing nutrients to be absorbed by the plant.
 
This amazing mechanism is said to happen by accident and chance. How did the plant know it needed sweet nectar to attract insects and then to lure them by putting it on the outside and inner rims? How did the plant know to point the hair downward and not upward? How did it know to make and activate the digestive juices only when the hairs are stimulated and thereby not waste the digestive juices? All these features needed to be present and fully functioning from the moment the pitcher plant was designed. This mechanism for survival was needed only after sin entered the world. God knew what the pitcher plant needed and designed it to survive.
 
(Source: Inspired Evidence – Joanne E. De Jorge, Rustling Grass 1985 pp.79-83)

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