Collection location: Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA [Click for map]
[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:05:15 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Ridgeway Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis’ to ‘Ridgeway Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA’
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good thing fungi are messy eaters! plenty of leftovers for their table companions…
The microscopic seeds of endophytic orchids require a fungal symbiont to successfully germinate, but I do not recall the specifics. I think David Attenborough mentioned Mycena as the symbiont for some orchids in Private Lives of Plants.
Epiphytic orchid seeds are so small that they contain no food stores at all. In order for one to grow into a plant, it must germinate in a place that has readily absorbable food. Saprophyte fungi provide this food by secreting enzymes which digest organic matter in the crevices of bark and the crooks of trees where the orchids live. When an orchid ‘spore’ lands on a fungus infested tree branch, it survives on nutrients predigested by fungal secretions until it grows into a little green blob capable of making its own food by photosynthesis.
I imagine any number of fungi could provide this crucial service to the orchid.
more likely that they have endophytic symbionts…