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Creation Devotional February 19 - Botany

People are fascinated by insect eating plants such as the Venus flytrap. Venus fly traps are designed to snap their leaves shut, trapping the insect inside. This provides the nutrients for the plant that the soil does not provide. Another mechanism of trapping insects is seen in the pitcher plants. Their leaf-like structures form a cavity that fills with liquid in which insects are attracted and then drown. The dissolved insects provide nutrients which the plants need.

 

The Borneo giant pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah, is so large it can hold almost a gallon of liquid. With a reservoir so large, any nutrients from insects would be too diluted to do the plant much good. So biologists were curious how the Borneo’s giant pitcher plant got its nutrients. They discovered an amazing process whereby the plant lures rats and tree shrews with sweet nectar, not to eat them, but to feed them. During the day, the tree shrews come to lick the nectar from the rim and defecate into the plant. During the night, rats come to lick the sweet nectar and also use the pitcher plant as a toilet. The tree shrew/rat gets a valuable food source, nectar, while the pitcher plant gets to catch and absorb the “poop” from the shrew/rat, which supplies it with much-needed nitrogen. The plant needs the rat, and the rat needs the plant. Did this mutualism happen by accident and chance? When we see such a mutually beneficial design we know it points to a Designer.

 

And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.

~ Luke 13:8

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