What are the systems plants possess to increase their endurance against drought?
How do plant leaves hold water?
What are the protective mechanisms in the roots?
What are the properties of creation for storing water in plant cells?
Water is of vital importance for plants. All plants have to obtain the water they need during different periods of growth and development from their own environment. However, water exists in different amounts in different parts of the world. In some locations, it is abundant because of rivers, underground aquifers and rains. In some locations, it is scarce. In drought locations where water is scarce, Almighty Allah created very different systems for plants to benefit water at most.
The Systems Almighty Allah Created in Plant Leaves Against Drought
When the word drought is mentioned, an environment in which no living being can easily survive comes to the mind. Indeed, the number of living beings that dwell in environments with less water is quite low. However, when this dry environment is examined more closely, it is plants, which live in very difficult conditions together with their special and different varieties, which draw our attention.
The Shapes of Some Plants Increase Their Capacity to Store Water
Plants are created with a special and durable structure to struggle against extreme temperature and lack of water and to increase their endurance against drought. For example, the leaves of some plants are camouflage experts that imitate the rocks around them. Plants defend themselves against the animals around them with this method. Furthermore, plants also have the capacity to store water in a more efficient and voluminous way. For a plant, thinking that it will not capture any attention with the appearance of a rock, calculating that it will store more water in the shape of a rock and developing plans accordingly is not of course possible. Despite this, plants display rational and conscious behavior. This is because Allah, Who has all knowledge of the world and has the greatest intelligence, created the plants.
Leaves are Covered with Special Materials to Protect Against the Effects of Light and to Decrease Vaporization:
For plants to stand up to drought, water is protected in large and thin-walled cells found in the body and leaves. Therefore, the leaves of some plants are covered with a thick waxed layer (caticula). This waxed upper layer prevents high temperatures from penetrating the plant and protects the plant by decreasing vaporization. There are hairs and thorns on the surface of some plants. For example, the cactus protects the water it stores by its thorns, which can distribute temperature, protect its water filled body from animals and even stand erect when required. Some plants reflect sunlight using their thick leaves covered with white hairs and thus prevent water loss.
The Shapes of Leaves Decrease Water Loss
The shape of leaves is created in a way to prevent water loss or to store more water in order to increase plants’ endurance against drought. For example, when the curling leaves of the ctenanthe setosa, which is a foliage plant, are subjected to light, it decreases its leaves by 68% and thus decreases its perspiration rate by 70%.
The plant called the “window cover crop” buries its whole body underneath the ground and only shows its tips outside. There are photosynthesis cells at the tip of its leaves.
These cells use the light for photosynthesis. By means of this special creation, the plant can obtain both the food it needs and also decreases water loss to a great extent.
The leaves of some plants are in the shape of an orb. The orb has the greatest capacity for storing water as it has the largest surface area. These leaves decrease water loss and vaporization with their pores, which are closed in the day and open at nights, thanks to this ability.
Plants have had these characteristics in their leaves since the first time they were created. All of these characteristics are formed with Allah’s command, “Be”. For Allah Who created all worlds, creating beings different from one another is of course by His will. In one verse it is revealed as follows:
“It is Allah Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number,the Command descending down through all of them,so that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.” (Surat at-Talaq, 12)
The Systems Allah Created to Prevent Drought in Plant Roots
As is known, plants need to do photosynthesis and take in the water and minerals from the soil for this process. In order to satisfy these needs they have roots that drill under the ground. The task of the roots is to spread rapidly under the ground like a net and suck in the minerals. The roots, which are spread into the depths of the soil, transfer the water and minerals the plant needs to the leaves through the body and branches. The roots in the ground searching for water thus act like a drill. In periods of drought, some plants fasten the growth of their roots. The root tips continue to search the depths of the soil until they find water. Water first enters the root from the outer membrane and capillary cells. It passes through the cell and to the body tissue from cell covers. Here it spreads to every part of the plant. With this method, water lost is immediately replaced and every drop of water vaporized is renewed.
This process, which is flawlessly carried out by the plant, is actually a very complex one; indeed, so complex that the workings of this systems has not yet been understood even today in the era of high technology. The existence of this “water booster” system in trees was discovered almost two years ago. However, still no laws that explain how this anti-gravity movement takes places have been found. The result found after the studies of scientists is the perfection in the water booster system. Technology that is fitted inside such a small location is only one of the evidences that show us the intelligence of the One Who created this system. Allah created the process of water being carried through the roots as He created everything in the universe.
Mechanisms Our Lord Created in Plant Cells Against Drought:
Plants increase the amount of acid, proline and carbohydrates in their structures in times when drought increases.
In times of drought, when there is no change in the amount of other hormones, the amount of abscisic acid increases by 40 times. This change causes the closure of leaf pores and this in turn causes a decrease in water loss via perspiration, in order to protect plants during droughts and water deficiency. In comparison to leaves, roots begin to grow with the stimulation of this hormone. In this way, roots pull the water into the depths inside the leaves and the body. It is of course not possible that a hormone with no intelligence or consciousness could give the command of reduction to decrease vaporization in leaf pores and of growth to increase water need in roots. This process, which requires a superior mind and mathematical calculation, is realized by Allah’s inspiration.
Proline, which is one of the 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins, increases its amount by 80-100 times within a few seconds and prevents water loss.
During drought, plant cells increase the amount of carbohydrates inside it. So it decreases water potential and prevents water dispersing through osmosis (movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration without spending energy).
Potassium also controls the opening and closing of leaf pores. For example, in plants like sugar cane and corn that are exposed to temperature and dry air for a long time, pores stay closed in order to hold water for an entire day completely or partially. These plants need to take in carbohydrates in order to do photosynthesis in daytime. Under normal circumstances, pores need to stay open as much as they can. This is impossible, because in such a situation, it constantly loses water due to high temperatures by means of its open pores and thus, it dies after some time. Therefore, plant’s pores need to be closed. In order to solve this problem, some plants that live in hot climate regions have a carbon dioxide pump that takes the carbon dioxide in the air inside its leaves efficiently and even if its pores are closed, it uses special chemical pumps in order to take carbon dioxide inside its leaves. There is no doubt that these chemical pumps are created specially to carry their duties in the most sensitive way, by Allah’s leave.
Allah is the One Who Controls the Precaution Plants Take Against Drought
Persistent drought conditions such as those found in arid environments contain difficulties that will make life very difficult for any living being. The systems plants have in order to adapt to this difficult environment are clear evidence for creation. Almighty Allah bestowed mechanisms that protect against drought on these plants and He inspired them to use these mechanisms in a very sensitive way. Plants maintain their lives using these mechanisms bestowed by our Lord. Human beings that have intelligence and abilities that cannot be compared to plants use technology against the dangers of drought. However, plants survive even in environments in which people are weak and could die of drought, by means of the protective systems Allah inspires them.
These qualities of plants are only one of the evidences, which prove that plants could not exist by coincidence. The fact that leaves, roots, seeds and cells have the traits to specially protect plants from drought is one of the most important evidences of creation. The details in creation and perfection shows the mightiness, knowledge and art of Almighty Allah and one more time proves that Allah is the One Who creates plants with their most perfect qualities. In one verse this is revealed as such:
“Do they not see how We drive water to barren land and bring forth crops by it which their livestock and they themselves both eat? So will they not see?” (Surat as-Sajda, 27)
The systems which plants possess against drought bring a very striking view out into the open. Some plants are bestowed with special systems and structures to resist drought. These plants store water, camouflage or go to sleep. Some of them prevent their seeds from sprouting via chemical methods. Even in a dry environment, where all sorts of deprivation and difficulty prevail, many plant species maintain their lives by protecting themselves against the heat and drought together with other species. These plants show us Allah’s infinite knowledge and art with their special systems once more. In one verse, it is revealed as such:
“What is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Allah. Allah encompasses all things.” (Surat an-Nisa, 126)
As does every creature in the world, plants have completely flawless systems and since the first moment they were created, they have come down to this day without any change in their characteristics. Plants are completely flawless from the way they drop their leaves to their green color, from the woody structure of their trunks to the existence of their roots and formation of fruits, as well as their precautions against drought. In one verse, it is revealed as such:
“It is He Who sends down rain from the sky: from it ye drink, and out of it (grows) the vegetation on which ye feed your cattle. With it He produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes and every kind of fruit: verily in this is a sign for those who give thought.“ (Surah an-Nahl, 10-11)
Some Plants Leave Their Seeds During Sleep To Resist the Drought
One of the methods, plants use to struggle against excessive temperature and thirstiness is to “stay asleep”. Plants, which use this method by resisting drought and thirstiness with their special structures, are called “ephemeral” plants. These plants, which generally live for one year and avoid thirstiness by staying asleep in the state of seed during times of drought, sprout by opening their seeds very quickly after the rain and their seedlings grow very fast. Blossoming takes place in short time and so the plant can move from the state of seed to the state of seed production within a couple of weeks. However, there is an amazing example of intelligence in these plants. If all the seeds of ephemerals became green with a single rain and then die with a sudden drought, they would become extinct. But most of these plants have mechanisms that make them become green only after taking in large amounts of rain. In this way, they can maintain the continuation of their origin with the superior creation of our Almighty Lord.