Stem: A Matchless Transport System
From the smallest grass-like plant to the largest tree
in the world, every plant has to distribute the water and minerals
which it takes up through its roots to all of its parts, including
the tips of its leaves. This is a very important function for plants,
because water and minerals are what the plant needs most.
In all their activities, photosynthesis included, plants
always need water, because many essential processes in plants are
ensured just by using water. These include:
- the maintaining of vitality and tension of cells,
- the absorption of food substances which have dissolved
in the soil,
- the transport of these foods to different parts within
the plant body,
- producing the cooling effect on the surface of leaves
in hot climates, thus protecting them from harm.
But how are water and mineral salts taken up by the plants
from where they are hidden deep in the soil? Furthermore, how do
plants disperse these substances, which they have taken up through
their roots, i.e. send them to different regions of their bodies?
What methods do they use while carrying out these difficult processes?
When answering these questions, the most important point,
and one which must not be forgotten, is that it is quite a difficult
job to raise water up to heights of hundreds of metres. In our day
these processes are implemented by means of various pressure tank
systems. The transport systems in plants also use this kind of system.
The existence of this water tank system in plants was
discovered some 200 years ago. But no scientific law has yet been
established to definitively explain this system, which permits the
drawing up of water in plants against the force of gravity. Scientists
just propose a number of theories on the subject and count the most
likely and satisfying of these theories as valid.
All plants are provided with a distribution network so
that they can draw up the materials they need from the soil. This
network sends these substances and water acquired from the soil
to where they are needed, in the appropriate quantities, and in
the shortest possible time.
According to scientists' discoveries, plants use more
than one method to manage this difficult task.
The transport of water and nutriments takes place inside
plants thanks to structures with completely different features.
These structures are the specially planned transport tubes.
- No matter what the size of the plant in which the transportation
process is to take place, the tubes which make up the transportation
system are about 0.25 mm (in oak) to 0.006 mm (in linden) wide,
some being made up of dead plant cells, others of living plant cells
50 and are woody tissues with
no other features than what we have described. These structures
have the ideal design necessary to transport the water plants need
to a height of hundreds of metres.
This transport system starts to work with the leaves
losing water. The transport system in plants is set in motion with
processes which take place in the stomata (pores) normally on the
undersides of leaves, but in some species, on the top.
If the external humidity level is less than 100%, evaporation
occurs in the leaf and water is given off by the stomata. Even if
the humidity is 99%, this still means a potential situation for
the water in the leaves to be exuded, and the leaves rapidly begin
to lose water. In this way, plants need to make good the loss of
water that comes about with the evaporation through the leaves of
the water taken from the soil.
As we have seen, the mechanisms in leaves are sensitive
enough to identify a difference of just 1% in the humidity level.
This is a very important property. When the other things going on
in leaves are examined, it will be concluded these are processes
whose secrets have not been fully mastered, even with the technology
of our day. The miraculous processes going on in such a tiny area
bring many questions to mind.
How did mechanisms which can initiate the necessary processes
by detecting just a 1% drop in humidity come into existence in plants?
Who is the author of the design of these mechanisms? How did such
a technology, which has been working faultlessly for millions of
years right down to the present day, come about?
It was not plants themselves which designed and implemented
these mechanisms. Neither is it possible for an intervention by
any other living thing to have installed such a structure in the
leaf. It is beyond doubt that there is a superior intelligence which
gave plants all the properties they possess, and installed these
systems in areas just one hundredth, or even a thousandth of a millimetre
across. The possessor of this intelligence is God, the Ruler of
all the worlds, who keeps everything under control.
How Is Water Transported from the
Soil to a Height of Hundreds of Meters?
of the most widely accepted theories to explain how liquids are
sent from the soil to the leaves is the Theory of Cohesion. The
force of cohesion is a force produced by the tree's transport tubes,
known as xylem. This force increases the attraction between the
molecules which make up the water in the xylem. The xylem is made
up of two kinds of cells, called the tracheids and vessels, both
of which form pipes through which liquid can be moved. One of the
most interesting features of these structures is that once the individual
cells have reached their predetermined size and form, they promptly
die. There is a very important reason for this. During the transportation
of water in the tubes, it has to be able to move freely without
meeting any obstacles. In order to enable this to happen, a completely
empty tube must be formed. This is the reason for the protoplasm's
disappearance to leave the thick cellulose cell wall. The xylem
pipework in all living plants thus consists entirely of dead cells.
51 Most of the tracheids in
a plant stem are known as "pitted tracheids". They are elongated
cells with thick, strong walls. They also have small holes, or pits,
where they are joined to their neighbours.
The cell cavity is connected to with the interior cavities
of neighbouring cell above, below and at either side. A strand of
tracheids thus forms a series of pipes along the stem with constrictions
at the holes in the walls where two cells make contact. These constructions
increase the resistance of the pipe to the flow of water.
This picture shows a plan of how
water and nutrients are transported in a tree by means
of its pipework. No matter how high the tree is, the
pipes are strong and resistant enough to carry the
water and minerals as far as the furthest leaves.
This system, which scientists have
only recently unravelled, has been working in trees
since they first emerged.
All the features we have counted so far are the first
step in the foundation necessary for water to be transported in
plants in a secure manner. The pipes formed by these cells must
be able to withstand the pressure that is formed when the water
is sucked up. As we saw above, this is brought about by means of
the holes between the cells. Then it has to be ensured that there
is no obstruction when the materials are being transported, because
any obstacle in the route they traverse will result in a chain reaction
of faults in the whole system. This possibility is prevented by
the death of the cells and the formation of the empty tubes.
The cell walls of the xylem tubes are quite thick, because
water will travel up these as it is sucked up under a certain pressure.
The tubes have to be able to resist this quite strong negative pressure.
A kind of water column forms in the tubes. The tensile strength
of this column must be strong enough to carry water to the furthest
point of the tallest known tree in order for the plant to survive.
Thanks to this strength, water can rise up to 120 metres, as in
the mammoth tree.52
The coming of the water from the soil to the xylem tubes
happens by means of the roots. At this point the importance of the
root's internal layer emerges. There are protoplasms in the root
cells. These protoplasms are structures made up of water for the
most part, and for the rest of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen,
sulphur, sometimes proteins containing phosphorus, carbohydrates
such as starch and sugar, oils, and various salts. And they are
surrounded by a semi-permeable membrane. This allows certain ions
and compounds to pass through them easily. This special structure
of the root allows water to be taken up easily.53
The phloem tubes through which nutriments are carried
by are made up of two different kinds of cells. These are the sieve
cells, through which the nutrients are transported, and the companion
cells. Both these cells are elongated, and completely different
in structure to the cells in the xylem tubes. This difference can
be clearly appreciated when their structure is examined. Both the
cells in the phloem system have extremely thin walls. They are also
living cells. Those in the xylem tubes are dead.
Research into the sieve cells which make up the phloem
tubes has revealed that they lack a nucleus. This is most interesting,
because the cell nucleus is where all the information required to
keep the cell functioning is hidden. The sieve cell lack a nucleus,
because such a bulky object in each cell would impede the flow of
the nutrient solution. This is where the companion cell comes in:
the companion cells contain very dense cytoplasms and a prominent
nuclei and they are, in fact, sister cells to the sieve cells with
which they are associated.
There is a quite detailed planning in plants' transport
systems. And the function, and hence structure, of every cell is
different. In the face of these details, the question comes to mind
of how they could have been placed in such a small area.
It is impossible for such a system to have come about
by chance. This system is the result of specially prepared planning.
Let us examine how such a complex and unique system could not have
come about by chance by asking some questions.
With what timing or method could the development we have
been discussing, in other words, the cell's nucleus being absent
only in this type of cell have come about? How could coincidences
have decided to dispense with the nuclei only of certain cells?
Let us assume that they did so decide: in such a situation, could
the structure in question have come about by waiting for coincidences
over thousands or millions of years? This question must definitely
be answered. It is certainly not possible. If we think, we can see
this. What would happen if the cells in a plant's phloem tubes did
have nuclei? In this case the plant would die the first time an
obstruction arose. That would mean the plant's disappearance, and
for that reason the disappearance of the whole species shortly there
after. If we consider this system, which is present in all the plants
in the world, it will be even clearer that the transport mechanisms
in plants could not have come about by chance. As we have seen,
these tubes have to have possessed all their features in their entirety
from the moment they came to be right down to the present. There
is no question of plants' developing over time.
of a Tree, Spowing the Transport System
One of the most important
features of the transport system in trees is the working
of the transport tubes, made up of cells appropriate
to the materials being carried in this difficult process.
As can be seen in this illustration, water and minerals
are carried to the leaves by different channels. One
important feature of this system in plants is the annual
renewal of both the xylem pipes and the phloem pipes.
All the elements which bring about the root-leaf connection
are renewed perfectly every year.
Moreover, it will not be sufficient for the equilibrium
in such a complex and flawless system to have been brought about
once. Because in plants, the xylem tubes and phloem tubes develop
afresh every year. The system, all its structures, the features
peculiar to it, the particular cell structures, the speed of functioning
of the system and other details are renewed every year, with nothing
Furthermore, as opposed to the transport of water, the
cells used in the transport of nutrients are living. What is the
reason for this difference?
This difference between the two systems which are present
in the body of the plant is most important, because in order for
the minerals to be able to move forward in the food transport system,
the cells operate directly, for which reason they have to be living.
But the cells in the xylem system just function as pipes for the
transport of water, and what conducts water to the leaves is the
internal pressure. This is the reason why a system consisting of
living cells was set up for the transport of nutrients.
In the case of plants' transporting nutrients, as in
that of their transporting water, only theories apply. Botanists
have done a lot of research into how this system works. The most
widely accepted of the results is the "Pressure-Flow Hypothesis."
According to this hypothesis, water and dissolved sugars flow
through the sieve tubes from an area of higher pressure to an
area of lower pressure. The cells in the leaf export sugars into
the phloem cells by active transport. The resulting high concentration
of sugar causes water to diffuse into the phloem cells, increasing
the water pressure there. This area of higher pressure forces
the sugar-water solution to move into the next phloem cell. In
this manner, sugars are moved from cell to cell.54
In this paragraph let us consider those sentences in
a little more detail. The cells which make up the plant identify
those regions where sugar is at low levels, and conduct it where
they think necessary. If we think about it, it can clearly be seen
that it is an extraordinary situation that cells should do such
a thing. How does this come about? Is it possible for the cells
to take such a decision on their own and establish the sugar levels?
It is not possible, of course. Non-conscious cells cannot establish
such a thing. They cannot know what other cells need. These cells
in plants have submitted to God, like every other living thing in
the universe, and operate in accordance with His inspiration. God
reveals this truth in one of His verses:
There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock...
(Surah Hud: 56)
The Structure of the Stem
The job of distributing the minerals which the roots
take from the soil falls to the stem. The stem distributes the minerals
to the regions where they are needed in the most appropriate manner.
For example, there has to be more calcium in the leaf stem, because
the stem as the transporter of leaves and flowers needs a resistant
structure. There is less calcium in the seed.
That faultless transport system in plants, whose plan
has not yet been fully discovered, is the product of a totally conscious
design. In other words, it is the work of a designer who possesses
a most superior intelligence and superior knowledge. The designer
is without doubt God, the Lord of all living things in the world,
who knows what every one of their needs.
Does He not know what He created? He is the All-Pervading,
the All-Aware. (Surat al-Mulk: 14)
Dead Ends for Evolution with Reference
to the Food Transport Systems
Evolutionists claim that all these systems in plants
reached their perfect state as the result of uncontrolled coincidences
over a period of millions of years. And according to evolutionists,
for some reason nothing happened to plants while they were waiting
for these processes to be completed. While every coincidence was
taking place, the plant did not die because it was unable to produce
food in the successive stages, it did not dry up from lack of water,
but was able to survive all of these things for millions of years.
In this section only the structure of the transport system,
of all the complex systems plants possess, was considered in broad
outline. This subject is enough on its own to demonstrate the meaninglessness
of the theory of evolution. Evolutionists' claims on this subject
will be taken up in the section on the microbiological collapse
All the features we have counted so far are just the
general lines of the infrastructure necessary for the perfect functioning
of the water and food transport systems. These complex mechanisms,
whose general properties we examined without going into fine detail,
are without doubt the work of a superior and matchless intelligence.
For the transport of water there are canals made up of specially
selected cells, and these have to be able to resist the pressure
which results when water is being drawn up. This structure also
has to lack protoplasms for the easy transference of the water.
Food transport cells, on the other hand, have to be living, and
also have to have a cytoplasm to transfer nutrients. So who brought
about this water and food transport system, down to the finest detail,
in plants? The plants? How can plants, which are made up of water-transport
canals, leaves which carry out photosynthesis, branches, and outer
coverings, establish the infrastructure for the transport process
without knowing the physical properties of water, the pressure systems,
and all the other details? Again, how can the food transport tubes
find the best system for carrying sugar without knowing that substance's
The number of such questions can be increased, but there
is one answer to all of them. It is out of the question for plants
to "establish," "design" or "find" such perfect systems. Plants
possess no will. It is not plants which form these flawless systems
which even scientists are hard pushed to "understand." Neither are
they the result of coincidence.
It is God who installs all these systems in the required
manner in the plant cells, and who creates the plants, the water,
and the nutrients. Our Lord, who creates everything complete, reveals
Himself in the most beautiful and the most perfect of creations.
Prof. Dr. Ilhami Kiziroglu, Genel Biyoloji (General Biology), Desen
Yayinlari, December 1990, p.75
51. Malcolm Wilkins, Plantwatching, New York, Facts
on File Publications, 1988, p.106
52. Prof. Dr. Ilhami Kiziroglu, Genel Biyoloji
(General Biology), Desen Yayinlari, December 1990, p.78
53. Temel Britannica, Vol 8, p. 221
54. Milani, Bradshaw, Biological
Science, A Molecular Approach, D.C.Heath and Company, Toronto, p. 43