Only recently as of this writing has my area warmed enough for it to be truly considered spring and for plants to begin to bring forth leaves and flowers. This beautiful display of foliage defines spring for many people and rightly so. However, there is much more to flowers than simply pleasingly bright colors and ornate shapes. Flowers actually play a very interesting role in the origins debate. This article will discuss flower types and parts, attempting to lay the groundwork for why flowers are important to origins.
Even small children recognize what flowers look like. They are one of the most easily distinguished organics that exist on planet earth. Yet far fewer can distinguish the parts of the flower, or even the purpose of a flower. This article will hopefully make the purpose of flowers more clear by discussing the parts of flowers and their functions.
Before a flower becomes a flower, it is contained in a specialized structure called a bud. When the bud opens and the flower is released, the remnants of the bud surround the base of the flower and serve to support the flower. These parts are called the sepals, and they take many forms, sometimes even resembling petals. The actual flowering head of the flower is referred to as the corolla. A flower with multiple flowering heads is said to have an inflorescence.
The corolla of a flower contains its most important parts and provides the flower with its purpose. The purpose of a flower is not merely to look good. Rather, it is meant as a reproductive vehicle for the plant. To this end, most plants produce both male and female gametes in the same flower, though some plants actually have separate genders. The stamen is the male portion of the flower. Stamens consist of a small stalk, called a filament, and a specialized organ called an anther. The anther produces pollen, which is the male gamete for plants.
The female organ of plants is called a pistil, and is found more towards the base of the flower. The pistil has multiple parts, all of which must be present for fertilization to occur. The ovary houses the eggs which will develop into the seeds of the plant once they have been fertilized, or pollinated in botanical terminology. Extending upwards from the ovary is a tube called the style, which connects the ovary to the stigma. The stigma is a sticky surface that is meant as the receptacle of pollen. When pollen strikes the stigma, through whatever vehicle, it adheres to it. The pollen will then begin to burrow down through the stigma and style until it reaches the ovary. There each pollen cell will seek an egg to bind with. Only one pollen cell will bind with each egg. Many pollen cells will never bind with any egg. The eggs will develop into seeds, which will then be released to become new plants.
Since many plants bear both male and female gametes, there is the potential to self pollinate. This means that the plant would fertilize itself, resulting in offspring with identical genetic make-up to that of the parent. This is largely undesirable to the plant, so many flowers have ornate, complex structures to prevent this. However, some plants actually live by self fertilization. Essentially, every plant in a given species that self fertilizes is an identical clone of every other plant.
With the basic background out of the way, let us examine flowers in light of origins. Flowers purpose is to perform reproduction. The exact methods they use are beyond the scope of this article, but consider this thought. How did a blind process know that self fertilization limits the genome and thus build mechanisms against it in most flowers? For that matter, why do pollen cells come equipped with mini-excavators to tunnel their way through the style to the eggs in the ovary? How does a single cell of pollen know to do this? For that matter, why did blind chance cause the development of flowers in the first place? These questions demand answers, answers evolutionists cannot produce.
Creationists can answer all of those questions by simply choosing to believe in an all-wise Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than a blind, random chance, natural process. The reason flowers exist in the manner that they do is to allow plants to reproduce. Flowers were designed for that purpose. However, because God is a God of love, I believe He also designed flowers to provide beauty and elegance to the world in which we live. He knew man would appreciate beauty, for He had placed that desire in man. To give man something pleasant to view when looking out his window, or traveling a long road, God had plants produce flowers.