Spikey watering system described in About the Garden, Australia, Spring 2005. An article on the spines on cacti and succulent plants reminded us that they are generally claimed to have evolved to protect plants from being eaten. However the author brought out a positive side to the spines existence in that “their main function is to collect condensation so that it drips onto the ground above the plant roots”.
Furthermore cacti and succulents don’t only inhabit deserts – they also live in wetter environments, including humid jungles. They can survive in harsh arid climates because they can cope with the large temperature changes in such environments, since their many spines can provide an insulating barrier against the environment.
Editorial Comment: Cacti and succulent plants are often believed to have evolved in harsh dry climates but as we are reminded here they can and do live in wetter, less harsher climates. They have become synonymous with arid climates because most other plants don’t survive well in such conditions so the cacti and succulents have it to themselves.
This is natural selection at work, eliminating all other unsuitable plants, but it is not evolution. Natural selection does explain why a living organism can survive where it lives, but it does not explain how the organism came into existence.
The water collecting function reminds us that in the beginning the world was watered by a mist so any method for condensing moisture and dripping it onto the plant roots would be useful. However, the spines were probably not as sharp in the original good world that God made. “Thorns and thistles” are definitely listed as part of the curse that God put on the ground when He judged Adam and Eve for their sin (Genesis 3:17-18). This could have involved altering the hardness of some plant structures so that they became both a painful reminder to human beings that we live in a cursed world, and they still remained useful to the plant. Later after Noah’s flood when deserts first began to appear, they were naturals to survive the increasingly dry conditions.
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