BIO 203


As with many plants, ferns are also involved with a form of beneficial fungi called Mychorrhizae. Sounds a lot like glycyrrhizae? Right! That is because both Latin words stem to the same root word rhiza meaning root; no pun intended. Mychorrhizae is a type of fungi that has a mutualistic symbiosis with the root system of the ferns and many land plants for that matter.

[Above] Plant roots with mychorrhizae fungi, photo by Barney Livingston


The host plant provides the fungus with a steady supply of sugar, and in return, the fungus increases the surface area allowing for greater water uptake by the plant. In addition to this perk,  the mychorrhizae grants the plant  phosphate and other minerals absorbed from the soil. The fungi also secretes certain growth factors that lead to root stimulation roots as well as act like antibiotics that aid in the protection of the plant from pathogens in the soil (Campbell et all 2008). For more fun facts, click here!


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