“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.”
Two strange species of orchids are among the rarest flowers in the world. These unconventional plants live their entire lives underground, even flowering underground. Most often, their flowers never break the surface of the ground. One of these species, Cryptanthemus, has been found only three times in this century. Only 150 flowering Rhizanthella plants have ever been found.
Since they live in the dark underground, neither orchid has any need for chlorophyll or leaves. Each looks like nothing more than a white, waxy root. Rhizanthella produces a flower that is initially white, but which turns purplish as it ages. Its fragrance has been described as delicate and sweet. Cryptanthemus produces a candelabra flower stalk that has several white flowers with small red splotches. The flowers remain almost an inch under the soil. Both species begin life in the same way as most orchids. The orchid seeds germinate when threads of a fungus invade the embryo and form coils within the seed. At this point, other orchids grow leaves so they can make their own food. But these underground orchids continue to live in a symbiotic relationship throughout their entire lives, being fed by the fungus.
The wonders of God’s creative handiwork never cease to amaze us. But God’s greatest creation is a redeemed believer in Jesus Christ, a creation He does not want hidden. That’s why He tells us in His Word to let the light of faith and new life He has given us in Christ shine onto those around us.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the new life You have given me through Christ and help me live so that others can see it. Amen.
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Ref: Margaret Helder, Underground Flowers in Australia, Dialogue, Winter, p.6. Photo: Rhizanthella gardneri (underground orchid). Courtesy of Jean and Fred Hort. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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