Almighty Allah granted us various senses to distinguish a meal that we do not like or that does not taste nice. Our nose, tongue, and eyes sense the meal’s scent, taste and image respectively and transfer it to our brain. The brain draws a conclusion from these senses and informs us that the meal is something we do not like or that it is spoiled. It goes without saying that plants do not have any brains or sensory organs but they can also be choosy about their food just like us. Scientists found the reason behind the choosiness of the Venus plant, one of the most interesting members of the plant world, only after long research.
The Venus Fly Trap plant (Dionaea muscipula), a fascinating species of predatory plant, is an unexpectedly fast hunter. This plant lives in poor soils such as swamps and moist savannas. The major characteristic of the Venus plant is that it feeds on the proteins from the insects it hunts instead of the minerals it gets from the soil. There are flawless systems in this plant’s feeding created specially by Almighty Allah.
The Systems That the Plant Has to Hunt
Every one of the systems possessed by the Venus plant has complex structures. These mechanisms work in cooperation with one another and without making any mistakes in a perfect, synchronous manner. These systems the plant has are as follows:
Color: The Venus plant has a very charming appearance for an insect searching for food by walking among the plants. A red color among the green leaves is bright enough to attract many insects.
Smell: The essential weapon used by the Venus plant to catch the prey lurking around is the sweet smelling fluid it secretes from the sacs around its leaves, as well as its red color. The insects which are attracted to the irresistible effect of the smell being secreted immediately respond to this call.
Sensitive Hairs: The Venus plant has hairs very sensitive to movement. These hairs act as triggers, as insects move around the plant’s leaves with a hope to find food.
Trapping System Made Up Of Leaves: The first phase of the closing process begins with the movement of a couple of hairs among the leaves. The insect, by brushing against the hairs for several times causes the trap system to become active. The point that attracts attention here is the perfect consciousness the flower has. The Venus plant does not close after a single touch, nor as a result of movement caused by rain drops falling on different parts of the flower. If this system did not work in a proper way, the leaf would close at even the slightest movement –for example, as a result of a single rain drop- for no reason. But the flower never uses its energy for nothing and the trap always closes when the flower’s food arrives. This flawless differentiation is a result of the flower’s chemical brain.
How Does the Chemical Brain That Distinguishes Food Work?
The Venus plant identifies its prey through these perfect systems mentioned above and it can close the trapping system faster than an insect can escape. However, the insect must be distinguishable between edible food and non-edible substances for these muscles to come into action. Research done has found that the Venus plant makes this differentiation using chemicals that process just like a brain.
For the plant’s trap to close, two chemical substances need to reach a critical amount. The plant senses the pressure put by the insect’s small legs as it moves and increases the amount of chemicals. In this way, the plant can easily distinguish a single move made by a falling leaf or a movement made by unwanted substances like rain drops falling on every trap from the effect of a live prey.
The chemicals, which are sensitive to movement essentially operate as nerve cells. When the mechanical push is strong enough, these chemicals spread electrical signals like the waves in a pool; the signals reach the motor cells and the cells change the level of water inside their textures. The cells inside the trap leave the water in their textures and collapse. This event resembles an deflating balloon. The cells outside the trap swallow excess water and inflate. And the trap loosens on one end and closes on the other. So it moves in a way that resembles a person moving his or her arm. The trap closes in less than a second. This speed is faster than the speed at which human hand closes. If you tried to catch a fly with the palm of your hand open, you would most probably not be able to, yet this plant can do this very easily.
The insect that is trapped inside touches the hairs again and again with every struggle and because of the electrical signals it activates the chemical brain and causes the leaf to close even more tightly. The digestive sacs are also warned with this. As a result of this warning, the sacs begin to secrete the fluid that will digest the insect.
There is no doubt that there is a flawless plan throughout this entire hunting process. This plan requires a superior intelligence. Allah, Who is the Owner of this superior intelligence, thus shows us the evidences of His flawless Creation. Allah reveals His Control and unique Creation over living beings in one verse as such:
“That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything.” (Surat Al-An‘am, 59)
How Does the Venus Plant Close its Trap With an Extraordinary Speed?
The fly trap of the Venus plant closes faster than the blink of an eye. The reason for this extraordinary speed is partially solved by today’s technology. While our slow movements are formed as a result of muscle contractions, plants move differently.
Lakshmi-narayanan Mahadevan and his co-workers from Harvard University used high-speed cameras in order to record and document the closing of the plants leaves. They observed that when the trap closes, the curves of the leaves turned from a convex to a concave structure. This transformation occurred in less than one tenth of a second. They concluded that the leaves transformed suddenly from a stable condition to another formation -by a movement faster than muscle contraction.
Even though they did not know what happens at the cellular level, scientists set the equations that define this mechanical movement. (Nature, volume: 433, p.421) They are able to anticipate after how much time it will begin to close, and how fast leaves can move, from the leaves’ structure. Maha-devan said, about the perfect system in the plant, “Our work leaves us helpless in the face of the question that motivated Darwin.” The answer to Maha-devan’s question is - Creation. It is clear that such a system could not have evolved spontaneously. For the plant to maintain its life, this system must exist in a complete manner. This shows that the plant suddenly came into existence, meaning it was created. The One Who created the system in the Venus plant, and Who inspired it how to catch its prey is Allah Who orders everything flawlessly. (Source: New Scientist, No: 2484, p. 17)
ALLAH IS THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING
All systems the Venus Flytrap plant has proves without doubt that Almighty Allah is the sole Owner of this unique power. The color, smell of the flower, the hairs on its leaves, its trapping system and chemical brain are created by the superior knowledge of Almighty Allah. The Venus plant is encompassed with the knowledge of Almighty Allah like all other living beings; it grows with His knowledge and uses the systems it needs to grow:
The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat Al-An‘am, 59)