What Happens Within the Leaf?
As we have seen in the previous examples, the leaf is a marvel of design created with a sublime knowledge and artistry. If you were to magnify any leaf, no thicker than a few millimeters, to the size of a factory, and if you were able to walk around inside it, then you would be amazed at what you saw there. For example, in a small parsley leaf you would perceive a highly advanced network stretching right throughout it, centers that produce and store more than 20 different chemical substances, energy transformers that constantly convert solar energy into sugar, solar collectors that initiate this process, air conditioning centers, a very powerful security and communications system, and a giant chemical facility containing many sections, many of whose functions are still unknown to scientists.
It is impossible to stop the cells at work there and obtain information from them. That is because the "workers" consist of substances such as fats, carbohydrates and water and have no mouths to speak with, nor brains to understand what we are saying, nor the time to answer our questions. What is obvious at first sight is that this system, its workers, and all the materials and products used in the system are the work of a sublime intellect and knowledge.
Plants have no central nervous system, much less a brain with which to control it. Each part of the plant therefore develops independently of every other; yet every component exhibits unbelievable compatibility and co-operation. It is still not known how the cells inside the plant communicate or how they come to give rise to different tissues. The chain of instructions that emerges as these different structures are created continues to preserve its secrets.32
Cells are the basic elements of leaves' flawless design. In fact, when we refer to the properties and activities of a plant, we are actually referring to the properties and activities of its cells. These cells that will constitute the plant begin to form its different tissues when the right time comes. Some of them combine to form leaves and veins, others constitute the woody inner structure that holds the stems erect, and others the green chlorophyll that carries out the chemical processes. Every tissue has a specific design, function and structure. The new organs that emerge as a result of this division of labor among the cells become the components of a new design that complement one another. The process by which the same cells turn into different structures, serving different purposes—which takes place in all living things—is some of the most important evidence of a superior design.
The tissue that constitute the leaves have been designed in such a way as to collect the maximum amount of sunlight, to withstand external damage of all kinds, and to perform the most processes with the fewest materials. In addition, although most leaves are no thicker than a sheet of paper, they have been equipped with structures that protect the millions of special cells inside them and control the complex and heavy traffic taking place there.
Let us now have a closer look at some of these tissues:
The Sections in Leaves
Upper and lower epidermis: These two cell layers form a waxy protective tissue. These layers, which constitute the outermost part of the leaf, possess a very different structure produced by special cells forming a waterproof layer over the leaf, top and bottom. Excessive water loss is thus prevented. Excess sunlight is reflected. Thanks to this tissue, when the pores of the plant close, the plant is able to conserve air and fluids. The epidermis is completely transparent.
Mesophyll: This tissue consists of two layers of cells that carry out photosynthesis. The palisade mesophyll consists of column-shaped or rod-like cells, and the spongy mesophyll, of spherical ones. These cells contain the chlorophylls, which are the facilities that enable photosynthesis. In addition, they also contain structures for various other functions.
Air cavities lie between both spongy and rod-like cells (the soft inner tissue of the leaf). The cavities in the spongy mesophyll are larger and closer to the air holes known as the stomata. However, this arrangement is not coincidental. In this way, since their need for carbon dioxide is greater, compared to the palisade mesophyll, the spongy mesophyll receives more of the carbon dioxide.
Pores (stomata) are small holes in the lower surface of the leaf. A few plants also have pores on the upper surfaces of their leaves. These pores are one of the leaves' special components. Like windows that connect the leaf to the outside world, they supervise the gasses that enter the leaf from the air, the vapor that emerges from the leaf, and the pressure inside it. With their other functions and the observer cells that ensure their opening and closing, they are marvels of design.
When a tree wants to receive more or less air, it uses these pores in the surface of its leaves, particularly the underside, which it can adjust like nostrils. These large numbers of microscopic openings are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Each of these is controlled by a pair of guard cells, automatically stimulated in conditions such as moisture, light and heat. When the weather is very hot and dry, the pores remain only ajar, but when moisture increases, the guard cells begin to open. In cold and rainy weather, the pores open up entirely; thus there is more moisture for the chloroplast to evaporate in. By the help of the solar light, the chloroplast obtains the carbon dioxide it needs by absorbing the carbon dioxide through the pores.
There may be 100 to 300 pores in 1 square millimeter of leaf surface, and the total number of pores in the whole leaf may reach millions. Every one of these millions of windows is opened and closed by cells acting independently.33 Bearing in mind that human beings have communications and decision-making mechanisms for systems of this kind, the astonishing nature of what an ordinary cell does, not being controlled from any one single place, can be better understood.
The oxygen manufactured as a byproduct during photosynthesis can be emitted by the leaf only through an open stoma. Considerable water loss is also experienced during this exchange of gasses. The stomas that cover 1% of the leaf surface are responsible for 90% of the water it loses. On hot days, cotton plants, for example, lose around 400 liters of water an hour. Other environmental factors also affect the stomas' opening and closing. When the water level in the leaf drops below the critical point, the stoma closes in order to prevent the remaining water from evaporating. When the guard cells controlling the stoma absorb potassium ions, water enters the cells and causes them to swell, and thus the stoma opens. When potassium leaves the cell, water again leaves the cell and the stoma closes. This system is regulated and directed by a hormone known as abscisic acid, depending on the level of water in the leaf.34
Although most plants have stoma that open in the daytime and close at night, those of some species —such as cacti or pineapple that live in hot, dry climates—close in the daytime and open at night. These plants absorb carbon dioxide at night and transform it into 4-carbon acid. In the daytime, when the stomata are closed, carbon dioxide exits the acid and is immediately used in photosynthesis. This process is known as crassulacean acid metabolism, and such plants are called "CAM plants."35 When only the stoma between the leaf sections are examined, an amazing design can be seen. This unit is not just a sentry at the gate, but a security mechanism capable of deciding on its own, which monitors the internal and external environment and an emergency exit with a complete awareness of the entire plant.
Venous groups: The veins passing through the middle of the leaf are known as midribs. These and other veins that branch off from them to cover the leaf surface are made up of venous groups. The xylem is a woody tissue that performs very important functions inside the leaf, depending on the various duties required by the entire plant. This tissue acts like the veins in our own bodies, functioning primarily in the transport of water, ions, and soluble food substances throughout the plant.36 The distribution of these veins in the plant and leaves is not haphazard. Every vein in every leaf has a specific design and form. Enabling the leaf to remain stiff and upright, these veins comply with specific physical formulae for the functions they undertake.
Phloem (the tube-like part of the vein tissues): These pipes bring the organic nutrients such as amino acids to the leaf and also carry the sugared liquid back down the stem of the leaf. Glucose, produced by photosynthesis, is turned into saccharose (sucrose) which is carried to the other parts of the plant via the phloem, or else is transformed into starch and stored.37
The vacuole is a plant's treasure chest. This cell, or vacuole, is attached to the cell by a thin membrane and filled with a watery mixture. This fluid is generally mildly acidic and consists of dissolved atmospheric gasses; organic acids, sugars; pigments; oils that constitute the source of perfumes and aromatic fragrances, glycosides that are used in medicines; alkaloids known for their toxic properties; crystals; mineral acid salts; tannins (mainly seen in the tea leaf)' flavones which give flowers and fruits their blue, purple, yellow and violet hues; and much else besides. All these substances wait inside a vacuole too small to be seen with the naked eye, which can be seen only under an electron microscope, for when they can be of service to come. When the vacuole is full, it puts pressure on the cell wall, and enables the plant as a whole to stand upright by pushing the cytoplasm towards the cell walls.
Grass-like plants, which lack thick cell walls and any mechanical support such as a woody stem, use this internal pressure in order to remain upright; and the plants wilt if they are unable to do this. At the same time, the vacuole regulates the cell's angle of incline towards the light and the degree of moisture necessary for various reactions.38
How do substances in the vacuole come together to be stored without becoming mixed up with one another? For example, if you were to fill a bowl with perfumes, oils, alcohols, sugared water, dyes of various kinds, liquid rubber and salt water, they would soon mix with one another. This would take place even faster if these substances were confined under pressure. If we then tried to remove them when we needed these materials individually, we would never obtain any results at all. We would need to resort to a refining process in a chemical laboratory in order to make these substances useable once more. Yet vacuoles have been performing this complex process, without any mistakes, since the day they were first created.
When it is time for flowers to assume their colors or to produce a fragrance, they extract perfumes and send them to the requisite locations in the amounts needed. The vacuoles that carry out these processes in a flawless manner consist, like the other cells, of elements like carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and are structures that can be seen only under the microscope. Although these cells work like storekeepers, they actually possess none of the attributes a human storekeeper does. They behave as if they knew what products they will accept, where they will place them, where these products come from and where they will go, but they actually have no organs with which to see or have any knowledge of them. To put it another way, we cannot plant a tree in front of a warehouse where we keep valuable substances and make it responsible for the comings and goings of the merchandise. The vacuole is an unconscious component of this unconscious plant, too small to be seen with the naked eye, yet it carries out all these jobs not of its own will or with its own intelligence, but automatically, in the way inspired in it by Allah.
In addition to those just listed, many other structures perform different tasks inside the leaf. Every one of them possesses very complex structures. As we shall soon see, these systems that come together inside a thin leaf create photosynthesis, a most important function for life, and thus make the planet habitable. In conclusion, no matter what part of the leaf we look at, we are still dealing with a delicate component of a special structure designed for a particular purpose. There is no tissue in that design that does not serve a purpose or have a specific job to do. Various different systems, each with its own task, combine together in harmony for a common purpose.
This magnificent machine that works on its own, uses air and water as fuel, whose only aim is to produce nourishment, which can produce copies of itself under all conditions and in all environments in addition to having vitally important fragrance, color and shape, is the work of a sublime artistry—an example of the infinite knowledge and astonishing artistry of Allah.
As you have seen, a plant contains complex mechanisms squeezed into spaces just millimeters in size. All these complex systems have been working in the same impeccable manner in plants for millions of years. So how have these systems been compressed into such a minute space? How the complex design in leaves come into existence? Can such a perfect and matchless design possibly have arisen spontaneously?
One theory regarding the formation of leaves proposed by evolutionists is the "Telome theory," according to which leaves are the result of separate structures belonging to so-called primitive veined plants coming together and flattening out.39 However, the extraordinarily complex system in the structure of just one of the many trillions of leaves on Earth is sufficient to demonstrate the illogicality of this claim. Furthermore, this groundless theory can be totally undermined by just a few simple questions. For example:
No evolutionist has so far been able to provide any logical, scientific answer to even one of these questions.
Some who realized the quandary this theory was in have proposed a new, but illogical, theory regarding the origin of plants. As always, they gave their claim a Latin name to give it a scientific aura: the "Enation Theory." According to these evolutionists who refuse to accept the fact of creation, leaves evolved from nodules along plant stems.40
Let us now examine this claim by asking a few more questions:
As on every other similar question, evolutionists are unable to come up with any explanation other than imaginary scenarios of how plants came into existence.
In essence, what evolutionists are basically suggesting by both theories is this: Plants emerged as the result of coincidence phenomena. Nodules turned into branches by chance. Then another chance event took place, and chlorophyll happened to come into being inside the chloroplast. The layers in the leaves emerged through another coincidence. Chance events followed on one another's heels and finally leaves, with their exceptionally special and flawless structures, came into being.
The fact that all these structures, which are claimed to have emerged by chance, must have done so at the same time is another point that cannot be ignored. Since the structure and systems in leaves are all inter-related and dependent upon one another, the emergence of just one as the result of coincidence would be quite useless, because the system will not function if some elements of it are missing. Therefore, plants could not wait for the missing components to be completed by accident, and would thus die off and become extinct. Therefore, in order for the plant to survive, all its complex systems—roots, branches and leaves—would have to be present at the same time.
According to the theory of evolution, organs that are not used become "vestigial" and disappear. As we have seen, this rule clearly conflicts with evolutionists' own claims of the components comprising living things coming into being gradually through consecutive small coincidences.
Even if we assume that a few parts of a complex system did not function until all the components were complete, but nevertheless did actually emerge at the beginning, there is still no question of their waiting for the other components to develop with the help of "fortunate" coincidences.
That is because any components or organs that existed before all the others came into being would serve no purpose at all on their own and would be eliminated as "vestigial."
Therefore, to claim that any complex system in living things came about by means of small, consecutive coincidences is a violation of both logic and science, but it also contradicts the laws set out by evolutionists themselves! That being so, we are left with a second alternative: All the complex structures and systems in living things emerged fully formed, flawless and complete in a single moment. That means that they were created by Almighty and Omniscient Allah.
As with every living thing on Earth, totally flawless systems have been constructed in plants, and have come down to the present day with no changes whatsoever. All their features, from the shedding of old leaves to the way they seek the Sun, from their green color to the woody structure in their stalks, from the existence of their roots to the emergence of fruits, are all quite matchless. It is impossible for present-day technology to produce better, or even similar, systems such as the process of photosynthesis.
The Senses in Plants
When we examine any plant closely, we encounter the most fascinating systems. One of the most important of these is plants' reaction mechanisms. Though plants have no nervous systems, they can still be more sensitive than human beings in terms of certain senses. Plants do not possess eyes like ours, but can see more than we do because they possess proteins consisting of light-sensitive compounds. Thanks to that, they can perceive those wavelengths we can see and those we cannot—their sensitivity to light is greater than that of the human eye.41
Plants use this ability to determine such conditions as light intensity, quality, direction and duration—all essential for their growth and survival. A plant's daily life regulation is under the control of an internal clock. In terms of a scientific explanation of what is taking place, there are two protein groups in the plant charged with seeing light. One of these two is the phytochrome, which comes in five varieties, and the other is the cryptochrome, which comes in two varieties. These proteins are also receptors capable of reacting to light. Thus they are also responsible for adjusting the plant's internal clock according to the changes brought about by the light at every moment.42
Plants do not live by sunlight alone; they have no taste buds with which to sample the nutrients they need, yet their roots must still do this in order to absorb minerals and nutrients from the soil. Research into the plant known as Arabidopsis (cress) has revealed that a gene identifies areas in the soil rich in nitrate and ammonium salts. Thanks to this gene, the roots grow in the direction of nourishment, rather than haphazardly. This gene that identifies nitrates is known as ANR1.43
Apart from this gene, another study at Texas University discovered a new enzyme known as apyrase, found on the root surface, which is capable of tasting the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) produced by micro-organisms such as fungi in the soil. The ATP molecule is a short-term energy reserve that is ever ready in nature. Apyrase permits the plant to absorb ATP and turn it into phosphate nutrients.44 The way that plants collect and use extracellular ATP is a newly discovered miracle.
Like taste, the sense of touch is another perception frequently encountered in plants. Carnivorous plants such as the Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula) immediately trap the insects that land on them. The mimosa plant (Mimosa pudica) can lower its thin leaflets at even the slightest touch. Climbing plants such as peas and beans wind their sprouts around solid supports, thanks to their sensitive sense of touch. Latest research has shown that nearly all plants possess this sense of touch,45 which they generally use against strong winds that could seriously damage their leaves. Plants exposed to the wind react by hardening their tissues and thus avoid being broken by it.
Researchers are still trying to establish how the sense of pressure leads to the production of reinforced tissues. According to the most popular theory, when the plant is shaken, calcium ions pass from the vacuoles that act as chemical depots to the cellular fluid. The flow of calcium is the first action to take place when the plant moves or is touched. This movement takes place in as short a space of time as one-tenth of a second. The flow of calcium ions subsequently acts on the genes concerned with the strengthening of the cell walls, and the region touched then grows thicker as the result of an exceedingly complex process.46
The way that a plant possesses all the features it needs to survive thanks to exceedingly complex systems is sufficient evidence that not even a single leaf could possibly come into being by coincidence. Plant cells are tiny entities with no awareness or information, too small to be seen with the naked eye. These entities cannot wonder how to escape the effects of the wind and then develop appropriate measures. Furthermore, this system consists of components that set one another in motion, rather like a domino effect. Cells cannot produce this system of their own will, nor can coincidences create such a flawless plan and design. All these things are some of the proofs of the existence of Almighty and Omniscient Allah.
As a result of research performed in various centers, especially North Carolina Wake Forest University, it is also thought that plants can perceive specific wave frequencies or vibrations. For example, one experiment carried out at Wake Forest observed that the normal sprouting level of 20% in radish seeds rose to 80%-90% when they were exposed to sound at a specific frequency for long periods of time. Researchers think that giberelic acid, the plant hormone that acts as a vehicle in seed sprouting and shoot elongation is also responsible for sensing sound vibrations.47
Another point that must not be forgotten is that plants have no nervous system. When you touch or taste an object various chains of communication take place in your brain and nervous system. The decision for a conscious action is taken when memory will enter the equation. Yet though plants have no nervous system or memory, they still display very conscious reactions. They turn in a specific direction as if they could see sunlight, find the best foundations for their roots as if they could touch, and select the most beneficial substances for themselves from the soil as if they could taste. The apparent conscious intelligence behind this behavior belongs not, of course, to plants themselves, but to Allah, Who created them with a sublime intelligence.
An Intelligent Defense System
Plants resort to various means in order to protect themselves. They use thorns and shells in mechanical defense, and when these arms are not effective, they also employ special methods against potential enemies. Plants produce poisons or chemical weapons with an unpleasant taste. The best example of these is the superior defense system in nettles. The chemicals acetylcholine and histamine are brought together through a marvelous mechanism in injection hairs, located at strategic points. When these plants are touched, their hairs inject a painful fluid.48
Biochemists have determined that there are more than 10,000 varieties of the toxin known as alkaloid in 300 different plant families. Since it is inefficient to store these chemicals in their very small volumes, many plants produce chemicals such as alkaloid, phenol and terpene only when they actually need them. These chemicals have very powerful effects; and dopamine, serotonin and acetylcholine have very close structural similarities to the nervous transmitters in the human nervous system. A great many drugs used to reduce aches and pains due to illness or surgery are derived from these substances.49
It may not be too astonishing for a chemical engineer or a pharmacist to produce different drugs by combining certain chemicals, because a human being possesses intelligence and consciousness, and moreover, can receive years of pharmaceutical training. In addition, he may have a fully equipped chemical laboratory at his disposal. It is, however, astonishing for a plant that emerges out of the soil to produce chemical substances in its own tissues, with no external intervention. Moreover, every plant produces a chemical suited to its own structure and purposes at the appropriate time, and only when it needs to. There is intelligence, consciousness, will, instant decision-making and technical knowledge in this behavior. And plants have been doing this for billions of years, since before there were any human beings or any technology at all. So what power gives plants emerging from the soil these abilities and equips them with these extraordinary properties? On its own, every piece of information we learn about plants is enough to show us the existence, might and infinite knowledge of Allah. And mankind is still learning about these living creations of the infinite knowledge of Allah.
Researchers have recently discovered a new chemical group known as jasmonates, responsible for transmitting alarm signals to other sections of the plant. This signal-transmission system works in a manner similar to that in mammals: When damage occurs in one region, the production is initiated of chemicals that set in motion different reactions in other parts of the body.50 For example, the tobacco plant protects itself by means of the rather toxic chemical nicotine. Any attack initiates the production of the messenger chemical jasmonic acid. Alternatively, when a caterpillar begins eating, the leaf produces more jasmonic acid, which initiates nicotine production. The nicotine produced is dispatched to the edge of the leaf, and even the most stubborn aggressors are forced to give way as the level of the chemical rises. Some leaves are able to engage in enough production to carry 120 milligrams of nicotine for every gram of leaf tissue—an amount greater than that contained in 100 unfiltered cigarettes.51
Some plants identify which caterpillar is eating them by reacting to the secretions they give off and make the appropriate response to the species of caterpillar concerned. Maize, cotton and sugar beet leaves call in help from the outside against the beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua). The alarm signal they emit is the work of a superior intelligence. When the leaves detect the substance known as volicitin in the insect's saliva, they give off the soluble compounds indole and terpene: These scents mix with the air and attract wasps (Cotesia marginiventris) that hunt parasites. Or when a leaf is damaged, it emits a substance known as methyl jasmonate, produced by the defense genes. Neighboring leaves then detect this substance and begin producing other chemicals that will halt the insects' attack, or else attract predators. For example, whenever any of the leaves of the horse bean (Vicia faba) are damaged, the neighboring leaves begin to emit compounds that attract predatory insects that feed on leaf mites. In this way they rid themselves of enemies by calling in assistance from the outside.52
This stage prompts a number of questions we need to ask ourselves. How can a plant realize that its leaves are being eaten by insects? How can it distinguish these insects'—or other plants'—secretions from among thousands of chemical compounds? How does it know of the other insects that will prey on these, and which specific scents will attract them—or that these scents will reach those insects by being carried by the wind? Moreover, how can the plant be sure that the insects it calls on will help, and not harm it? These plants have been flawlessly implementing the same defense system for millions of years, since the moment they were first created. Of course, plants themselves have no consciousness or intelligence with which to organize any such complex process in such an ordered, immaculate way, to calculate and plan or to manufacture the necessary chemicals. A plant cannot recognize the caterpillars or insects that eat it. It does not even have the intelligence to know what a scent it. It is clear that the plant has no consciousness-related properties such as understanding or recognizing anything. Certainly, all these attributes have been created and bestowed on the plants by Almighty Allah.
The Fascinating Movements of Leaves
As you saw in the preceding section, plants have been equipped with systems that perceive light, pressure, and flavors, as if they were human beings. When these senses are considered one by one, they can be seen to possess a perfect design. The various movement, growth and defense mechanisms that emerge as a result of these systems in the plant exhibit important evidence of creation.
Plants attached to the soil by their roots are not completely motionless. Mechanisms within the plant not yet been fully understood permit it to react in line with its needs. Plants display movements in order to reach light, water and nutrients, as if they see without eyes and touch without hands. Each reaction has its own particular system and design. Special enzymes, hormones and tissues control these systems, designed to provide maximum development.
One of the main factors that influences plants' movement is their sensitivity to light. The light sensitivity in sprouts, known as phototropism (turning towards the light), is akin to the special sensitivity to visible light in the human eye. As in all sensory systems, the first phenomenon to take place is the perception of the stimulus. The only way for light to be perceived is its absorption by pigments. The energy obtained during the absorption process is turned into chemical energy, to be used later to operate other systems. The light-sensitive system in the plant sprout consists of two phases: in the first phase, mechanisms turn the light into electrical and chemical signals. In the second response phase, the systems needed for the growth of the shoot are activated, and the plant turns in the direction of the light.53
Plants move in different ways under different conditions. All movements, however, are controlled by hormones such as auxin, gibberellin and cytokinin. The way in which these substances work has not yet been fully understood. In summary, plant growth movements are as follows:
Orientation (tropism): Reactions to stimuli such as light, gravity, touch and water.
Bending: In leaves or flowers is a form of movement that arises as a result of the motion of the Sun, day length, or swelling (turgor) caused by the pressure of touch.
Morphogenetic reactions are changes that take place in plant tissue in reaction to length of daylight.
Photoperiodism: Changes taking place in response to light duration and the length of day or night.54
Geotropism: The lengthening, downward movement of the plant's main taproots in the direction of gravity.
Thigmotropism: A reaction to being touched. As we have already seen in some detail, plants display electrical and chemical reactions to external stimuli. In addition, they also exhibit a tendency to bend toward any support touching them. Creepers such as the Passionflower are examples of this.55
Hydrotropism: Plant roots' turning in the direction of water. In soil where water is not abundant, plant roots extend towards lower layers in an exploratory manner.56
Every organ in a plant rooted upright in the earth moves in a different direction, in accord with need—an extraordinary state of affairs. Scientists still cannot explain by what decision the different tissues of a plant move in different directions. The above-ground portions of a plant, for instance, turn towards the light. But the main root, as described above, extends downwards under the effect of gravity. Sprouts, on the other hand, head upward, opposite to gravity. It's as if there was polarization inside the plant.57 Even the very smallest portion of the plant has knowledge of what part should develop in which direction. For instance, even if you plant a branch upside down, roots will still begin sprouting from the downward end.58 In other words, as the roots of a plant always head downwards, so its sprouts always grow up. If planted in such a way that the sprouting shoot that grows upwards is buried underground, then no rooting will occur. Polarization, which is implemented in every plant, has determined the direction of growth without interruption, ever since the day they were first created. Yet there is no decision-making mechanism in plants, no molecules that are more intelligent or better informed than any others and are capable of imposing their will on the rest. No atom goes to any central body and receives commands regarding the direction in which it will carry out growth. In the same way that some cells constitute leaves, others flowers and still others a branch, they follow a previously determined order when it comes to their direction of growth. Therefore, wherever in the world we plant a particular species, it will have the same shape and taste. Every plant has been behaving in the same way, inspired by the laws of Allah, since the day it was first created.
Like all their other characteristics, plants' movements take place thanks to mechanisms designed for them in an ideal manner. Clearly, it cannot be the unconscious molecules comprising the plant that give rise to these mechanisms. No atom can think of a plant's roots growing in the direction of water, or of shoots growing in the direction of the light. These systems, the workings of which scientists are only now learning in the 21st century, have been discharging their duties, without fail, in the body of every plant for millions of years, in line with Allah's creation.
Turgor pressure arises with the pressure on the cell walls from the water that collects inside. This water pressure acts to make the cells rigid and permits the plant to hold itself upright. That is why plants that are not watered wither and droop. Some plant movements that take place in response to a specific stimulus are the result of a loss of this turgid pressure in the leaf.
The sensitive plants fade very quickly. When touched, their leaves suddenly wither. The moment a leaf is stroked, the stimulus travels around the whole plant until all the leaves do so. Both electrical and chemical processes are involved in this mechanism. Under the leaves, there are supporting extensions rather resembling cushions known as the pulvinus. When a leaf receives stimulus from a touch, heat or wind, a chain reaction begins in which potassium ions travel from one pulvinus to the next. This is followed by a very fast contraction movement initiated by the water molecules in the parenchyma cells in one half of the pulvinus traveling towards the other. This movement leads to a loss of water pressure, and thus to the bending of the entire leaf. The whole process takes place in a matter of seconds.59
This pressure variation is used in the system employed in the closing of the traps of some carnivorous plants.60 Intercellular pressure serves just as important a function in plants as muscles do in the human body. Water raised by special channels in the tree stem, using an astonishing mechanism, up to the leaves at the very tops of trees many meters high fills cavities left empty for it. Since the leaf is covered in a waxy substance and its pores open only when pressure is at a particular level, the leaf's cells swell like balloons. This dynamic system, which in the human body must use dozens of tissues, nerves and fibers, has been designed in the plant using organs planned in line with hydraulic pressure. Fibers that absorb water from the roots—in a manner that has still not been fully unraveled but in a way similar to an air- pressure tank—xylem and phloem that carry liquids to all parts of the plant, organs adapted to the moisture in the air and soil, cells that store the water in the leaves or use it for photosynthesis—all give rise to the portions of a stupendous design.
This system has been working in the same way since the first plant was created. A plant cannot survive in the absence of a single feature belonging to this system. Therefore, no plant can have evolved in stages, as evolutionists claim. All this shows that each plant was designed and created as a whole, together with all its parts, structures and cells.
Communication in Plants
A relationship in the different branches of the same tree—one that had not previously been recognized—recently attracted botanists' attention. When the top part of a pine tree is cut off, for example, it was observed that the side branches immediately underneath the cut bend upwards as if to compensate for the missing branches and begin to grow straight up within a few growth seasons. These limbs, which had previously been lateral branches, allow one or more of the branches to grow to replace the upright trunk of the pine tree. As if they knew that they had been chosen for the purpose, the branches thus selected grow toward a position in the middle of the others, where they can dominate and assume a central position. But how do the other branches know that these one or two branches have been selected to replace the top of the pine tree?
The questions of how the "main" branch is selected, and why and how the other branches abide by this choice, continue to preoccupy scientists. The only thing they can be certain of is that there is a kind of partnership among the branches.61
In fact, there is a partnership not just among the branches, but in the entire organism—as in the distribution of tasks inside the tree. If in spring you cut off the branch of a willow and plant in wet soil, it will produce roots and new shoots. This is not just an organism, but also organization. The plant cells literally know from which lower region the roots need to emerge, and the same for the buds that form the shoots. Even a small portion of the tree behaves as if it knew all the details regarding the tree as a whole.
Research into plants has permitted a most important miracle to be perceived. There is a communications system among the unconscious cells of the plant. Just like the cells of humans and animals, plant cells communicate with one another and thus display mass behavior.
A hormone is a kind of protein that regulates essential systems in living things. Various hormones are produced in plant cells—miraculous molecules that have been created to determine how the plant should behave under good and adverse conditions.
For example, if new shoots are enjoying good light and air, but the roots endure a dry environment with plentiful sunlight but little water, then the plant requires a deeper, stronger taproot. So perfect is the system inside the plant that the requisite measures are immediately taken. The plant's cells increase the production of a hormone known as auxin which, upon reaching the root cells, commands them to divide and multiply. Thus new roots are produced.62
How do the cells that produce the hormone auxin know that the roots right at the bottom of the plant need to grow longer? How do they learn the chemical formulae that will enable this to happen? And why do the root cells obey this hormone's commands?
The way that unconscious plant cells communicate with one another is a great miracle of creation.
Hormones have assumed duties inside the plant, as if they were managers responsible for running a factory. Molecules too small to be seen by the naked eye resolve with great expertise such complex questions as "Where should the sugar be carried? Where from? Which leaf will grow old and drop off, and which new ones need to be nourished? How long should the branches grow? Is it the accurate time to bloom?"
One of the 50 important varieties of hormone is gibberellin, which controls branch growth. The hormone cytokinin acts on a more distant part of the plant than does the hormone auxin. While auxin acts on the roots, cytokinin influences the plant's buds. It is agreed that this hormone is responsible for the shape of the bud.63 An unconscious molecule produced by unconscious plant cells is regarded as "responsible" for the production of buds created with infinite wisdom!
The really astonishing property of these hormones, which manage all the stages of photosynthesis, is that although they are not linked to any central system, they behave in a seemingly conscious manner, as if they received intelligent instructions from a single source.
The Miracle Called Auxin
Within a few years, a tiny seed planted in the ground becomes a bush and then a tree the size of a human being, and within decades becomes a giant plane tree. So what ensures the growth of the tree and its regular and beautiful development?
Responsibility for the growth of an unthinking plant has been entrusted to another unconscious entity, the hormone auxin. Therefore, the most auxin is found in the developing regions of the plant. Auxin behaves with an astonishing awareness, establishing growth by directing the branches upward towards the light (phototropism), against the force of gravity, and the roots downward in the same direction as gravity. Cell division, the variety and distribution of cells according to specific tasks, fruit growth, root development from cut areas and leaf shedding are among auxin's other responsibilities. The hormone auxin plays a key role in many aspects of plant growth and development, and with its mysterious chemical structure has been the focus of interest for researchers.
What controls this hormone, which acts like a decision-making center in the growth of the plant and controls in which direction it will grow? Researchers seeking an answer to this question have found themselves facing an insoluble problem. Another question is why all the components of the plant obey this hormone. In fact, the existence of such a perfect decision-making and implementing mechanism within the plant, the like of which can only be encountered in a disciplined army, proves one single truth: Like other living things, plants have submitted to a single Creator, from their leaves to their roots. This fact is revealed in the Qur'an:
… There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path.
Everyone in heaven and earth prostrates to Allah willingly or unwillingly,
32. Paul Simons, "The Secret Feelings of Plants," New Scientist, Vol 136, No: 1843, 17 October 1992, p. 29.
33. "Cell Types of the Epidermis,"http://www.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/biologie/b_online/e05/05a.htm.
34. "Mechanism and Regulation of Stomata Movements,"
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52. "Bitkilerin Duyulari, Op cit., pp. 74-75.
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54. Kingsley R. Stern, Introductory Plant Biology, Wm. C. Brown Publishers, USA, 1991, pp. 189-190
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57. Kingsley R. Stern, Op. cit., pp. 189-190.
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62. "Plant Hormones, nutrition, and transport," http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/BioBookPLANTHORM.html; Malcolm Wilkins, Plant-Watching, Facts on File Publications, 1988, pp. 167-169,
63. Malcolm Wilkins, Op cit. , pp. 172-173.