How Did Plants Survive the Flood?

Plant in flood

Plants have adaptive abilities that surpass all other multicellular organisms

by Chris W. Ashcraft

It is thought by some that plants would have been unable to survive the Biblical flood. However, plants have adaptive abilities that surpass all other multicellular organisms, and are therefore perhaps the most difficult to completely exterminate of any organism on earth. This is due to an extraordinary ability to reproduce during times of stress, and also because unlike other sexually reproducing organisms, most plants can self fertilize and therefore are able to alter their genome more dramatically without the worry of being able to find a sexually compatible mate.

All plants respond to stress by reproducing through either sexual or vegetative reproduction. Plants will sacrifice all metabolic reserves to rapidly set seed when the conditions indicate winter or draught is coming. Seeds that were set before the flood could easily have survived the event because they are designed to weather a period of hardship and not germinate immediately after maturation. Seeds enter a state of dormancy and are equipped with a seed coat possessing sufficient density to prevent precocious germination during the winter or dry season. The seed coat must decompose or be breeched so water can penetrate and break dormancy before the seed will germinate. Such decomposition is typically accomplished by bacteria and fungi, which like plant embryos are not metabolically active at temperatures expected during the flood. In addition, some seeds (such as cherry) will not germinate for years unless they pass through the digestive tract of an animal first.

Although seeds could survive the flood, no plant needs to generate seed to reproduced. Most plants readily undergo vegetative propagation. It is well known that plants send out runners and reproduce through vegetative nodes, but a more remarkable ability exists. Plants can spawn a clone of itself from any cell. Through the process known as organogenesis or somatic embryogenesis, a plant will emerge from a mass of wound tissue. Regeneration through this mechanism demonstrates a level of survivability not possessed by any other group of organisms…

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image credit: stuff.co.nz