And God Created ...

The Deceptive Orchids

David Everson

When God created flowering plants on the third day of creation, He, indeed, brought into existence some of the most vitally important and marvelously beautiful living things that are on earth. In certain of the flowers, He created some of the most difficult to explain processes that can be found in this beautiful world - if you try to remove the All Knowing Creator. Let's look at one such flower and be amazed by the complexity of design and wonder how this could ever happen if God did not exist.

In orchids we find many examples of unusual pollination strategies. Among the ten thousand or so types of orchids, up to three hundred use some type of deception of their pollinators to spread their genetic material. Some of them use color, shape, and a variety of odors to attract a variety of pollinators. Let's look at one particular orchid that is specialized to such a degree that it is hard to imagine how it is able to survive.

The Australian orchid, living in the eucalyptus forests, produces only one chemical attractant, called pheromones, to bring in the pollinator. The pollinator is a single species of wasp, called Neozeleboria cryptoides. This mimicking of a single chemical attractant puts the Australian orchid at great peril due to the need to produce this chemical when the wasps are reproducing. The timing of the flowering of the orchid and the connected wasp reproductive cycle must be exact if this plan is to work for the flower. God would be able create each of these organisms on the proper timing schedule. Without any foreknowledge by an "all knowing" Creator, the chances of this type of timing occurring is unthinkable.

In the pollination process, most flowers offer the pollinator a "reward" for the effort of moving the pollen from flower to flower. In the case of the deceptive orchids, the male wasp receives nothing from the flower. In terms of ecological relationships, this would be a form of parasitism with the plant taking advantage of the wasp.

This type of specificity is very risky for the flower. If this species of wasp does not reproduce then there will be no more males to be deceived into spreading pollen for the orchid. If evolution were the method that brought this plant into being, it would be almost impossible to imagine how a series of accidents could bring this type of relationship into being. But, for the All Powerful Creator it would be no problem at all. Let's us praise God for His marvelous works of creation. Rt 1 Box 116A, Belington, WV 26250.


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