ITW Collab – Orchids

Written by ITW

January 17, 2021

Photo: Joey Santore (pogonia ophioglossoides)

Orchids + Funguses
By: C_Y_Spam

If you can believe it, until about the 60’s, the scientific community considered the immense world of fungi to be a mere offshoot of the plant kingdom. Though we now know much more about the unique branch they hold on the tree of life, these first guesses weren’t entirely wrong. In fact, an estimated 90% of plants associate with fungi in the soil, and a majority of those plants would die without their mycological partners-in-crime. Orchid seeds, for example, will fail to grow beyond germination if they aren’t in contact with a fungus in the soil. Unlike most other plants, orchids don’t pack food into their seeds to kickstart growth, so it’s up to each seed to meet a fungal associate, and begin siphoning energy away from the fungi, which is hard at work digesting dead biomass or connecting trees via mycelial networks. It’s not all one-sided, though. Most orchids, being the considerate creatures they are, will send back a portion of the energy they create once they’re aboveground and photosynthesizing. In return, they receive a supply of essential nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and zinc, and so both parties benefit. These instances of mutualism happening right under our feet offer a fascinating look into the relationships of the other-than-human world, and serve to remind us that oftentimes, kindness and generosity are the best assets to have.

Cameron, Duncan D., et al. “Mutualistic Mycorrhiza in Orchids: Evidence from Plant-Fungus Carbon and Nitrogen Transfers in the Green-Leaved Terrestrial Orchid Goodyera Repens.” New Phytologist, vol. 171, no. 2, 2006, pp. 405–16. Crossref, doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01767.x.
Libretexts. “24.2B: Mutualistic Relationships with Fungi and Fungivores.” Biology LibreTexts, 15 Aug. 2020, bio.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Introductory_and_General_Biology/Book%3A_General_Biology_(Boundless)/24%3A_Fungi/24.2%3A_Ecology_of_Fungi/24.2B%3A_Mutualistic_Relationships_with_Fungi_and_Fungivores.
Lowman, Margaret, and Bruce Rinker. “Orchid Adaptations to an Epiphytic Lifestyle.” Forest Canopies (Physiological Ecology), 2nd ed., Academic Press, 2004, pp. 187–88.

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Costa Rica (Arenal Volcano) Spore Print

A unique Cubensis first collected by LJ on the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. These are the F2 grow by BAS. Expect great and unique variation from these. Third photo is of the original specimen collected from the south side of the volcano. These are truly a winner. Expect Umbonate caps, consistent flushes and a new strain for your library.

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