I was surprised recently to hear that the number one flavor of ice cream is vanilla, not chocolate. Vanilla is a popular natural flavoring used in hundreds of products, especially in baking and candy making.
But do you know where vanilla comes from and that it is a major problem for evolutionists?
For centuries, the native Indians of present day Vera Cruz, Mexico harvested pods or beans produced by an orchid vine. The vine can grow over 20 feet high and produce a beautiful white orchid with a yellow throat. When the orchid is pollinated, it produces a long hard pod, often called a bean that contains numerous tiny seeds. The bean is often ground or grated and then used as the popular flavoring. The name vanilla is derived from the Spanish word ‘vainilla’ which means ‘little pod.’
About 500 years ago, Spanish explorers were introduced to the vanilla bean and its unique flavoring. At one point, vanilla was almost as valuable as gold and silver. Eventually, vanilla vines were taken from Mexico back to Europe in hopes of establishing a vanilla business much closer to home.
The vines grew and the orchids bloomed, but for several hundred years, none of them produced any beans. Within 12 hours of blooming, the vanilla orchids would wither away. Try as they may to produce their own vanilla beans, the Europeans had to rely on shipments from Mexico for the exotic pods.
In 1819, more vanilla vines were shipped to the Reunion and Mauritius Islands in hopes of being able to develop a vanilla industry in warmer climates, but again they were never able to produce the coveted vanilla beans.
In 1836, Charles Francois Antoine Morren travelled to Mexico in hopes of discovering what the secret to producing vanilla beans. One day when he was studying a vanilla orchid, he observed a tiny little bee known as the Mexican Melipona Bee, land on a vanilla orchid. He was amazed as he watched the bee lift a protective hood-like membrane covering the throat of the orchid and disappear inside. The bee collected its pollen and exited the orchid and flew to the next flower and repeated the process. Unlike the orchids in Europe, the flower didn’t wither away, but produced a pod.
Morren took his knowledge back to Europe with him and a 12 year old slave boy in the Reunion Island discovered how to quickly hand pollinate the vanilla orchid. His methods launched a whole new vanilla industry that is still thriving today in the Reunion, Mauritius, Comoro and Seychelle Islands along with on Madagascar.
Further research has revealed that in the wild only the tiny Mexican Melipona Bee pollinates vanilla orchids. No other insect knows the secret of lifting the protective membrane in order to access the orchid’s pollen. This then poses the problem for evolutionists.
In order for the vanilla orchids to have flourished and produce seeds, the bees would have to have evolved prior to or at the same time as the vanilla vine. More than that, the bees would have to have had the information on how to lift the membrane in order to access and pollinate the vanilla orchid. Without the bee there would be no vanilla today.
So how did the bee learn how to access the orchid? If it was a learned behavior, then why hasn’t any other insect learned how over the supposed millions of years? If it is a learned behavior, then who taught the bee?
The only answer is that the Mexican Melipona Bee had to have been created with the knowledge of how to pollinate the vanilla orchid. Our Creator God, with infinitely more knowledge and wisdom than we have, designed the orchid and the bee to work together to produce a tasty delicacy that so many of us enjoy today.
So the next time you enjoy a vanilla ice cream cone, just think of how wonderfully designed the orchid and bee are and then share this amazing proof of Creation with your family and friends.