Annals of Botany

Genetic diversity and evolution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in Arachnitis uniflora

Arachnitis uniflora is a mycoheterotrophic plant that obtains nutrients via arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of neighbouring autrotrophic plants. Some mycoheterotrophic plants have the ability to associate with more than one fungal family.

Arachnitis uniflora
Arachnitis uniflora

Renny et al. identified fungal taxa associated with A. uniflora over 25 sites across its geographic range. High genetic diversity was associated with temperature, rainfall and soil features. Molecular tools reveal phylogenetic and phylogeographic fungal structures, uncovering associations with three Glomeromycotan families, with Glomeraceae emerging as the dominant symbiont. The fungal lineage originated around the Upper Cretaceous epoch, diversifying at the Miocene. The two families not previously found in A. uniflora may represent facultative associations.