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Re: Mycorrhiza

I do believe that members of the genus Botrychium are mychorhizal, the
association is thought to be essential to development of the subterranean
gametophyte, and apparently continues throughout the life of the plant.  Sorry,
but I can't provide documentation of this.   I believe that botrychia are
thought to be pretty primitive among ferns.
   Maybe a more skilled Web searcher can find more on the association between
Botrychium (perhaps all the Ophioglossales???) and their mychorhizal partners.

Betty Hamilton in snowy South Bend IN, USA


Barry Jackson wrote:

> The interesting thread of mycorrhizal dependence is an perennial chestnut on
> this list and was certainly raised by  Louis Chinnery about 2-3 years ago.
> [Unfortunately I have had a hard drive failure since then so I cannot
> provide a more exact reference.]
> As I recall however nothing concrete came out of it - like WHICH ferns
> exhibit any micorrhizal dependence and which don't.
> Perhaps Steven's volunteer could enlighten us as to which ferns respond most
> to the sugar treatment and which don't?
> Is anyone aware of any other mechanisms which might explain this?
> The web site www.soilfoodweb.com contains a lot of recent information on the
> very diverse range of life in the soil and suggests that plants generally
> obtain a continual 'bleed' of  nourishment from the corpses arising in the
> "sub-turf" wars between the bacteria and the fungi living down there. One is
> tempted to wonder if the sugar is not just supplying army rations to enliven
> these microscopic troops into a further bout of mutual destruction which
> then provides some rich pickings for the ferns?
> I also wonder where ferns and Micorrhiza fit in the overall evolutionary
> scale. Trees, and thus many orchids, are clearly "Johnny come latelies"
> evolutionary wise. Perhaps ferns developed too early for Micorrhiza or did
> so in an environment where such fungal assistance did not give them a
> competitive edge?
> I found Keith Roger's original reference site pretty heavy going - possibly
> in need of some re-organisation - but thought the concept of trees or fungi
> storing specific elements in winter because they could not obtain them
> sufficiently readily in the growing season was rather intriguing. Could
> ferns have developed at a time when such elements were more easily
> available?
> But then again perhaps ferns do indeed co-exist with these micorrhiza and if
> so which ones ecto or endo?
> Apologies for the profusion of questions and the complete absence of
> answers.
> Barry Jackson,
> Shivering @ -5?C in supposedly zone 9.
> Wirral, UK.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ferns@hort.net [mailto:owner-ferns@hort.net]On Behalf Of
> Nancy Swell
> Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 4:34 PM
> To: ferns@hort.net
> Subject: Re: [ferns] Mycorrhiza
> >Let me throw this out for comments.  My volunteer began doing something
> >that seemed odd to some at the time, I being one for experimentation and
> >curiosity watched for a bit.  She began supplementing the feeding cycle
> >with a once a month 'sugaring.'  It is just what it sounds like, adding
> >sugar to the water to feed the ferns.  What was noticed was a definite
> >pick up in the growth of some of the buggers.  My theory is this has
> >nothing to do with the ferns directly but feeds the soil fauna.  Anyone
> >else take any measures on fortifying the little buggers in the soil in
> >this kind of setting?
> Steven,
> I kept alive some Lady Slippers with a sugar water supplement that only fed
> the Mycorrhiza. Lost them eventually because ants appreciated the sugar
> solution (they were outside). I think the defect in the Lady Slippers has
> to do with sugar metabolism. I'm going to feed my ferns that are just
> sitting there and see what happens.   Nancy
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